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ERIC Number: EJ1001414
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-0263-5143
Superheroes and Supervillains: Reconstructing the Mad-Scientist Stereotype in School Science
Avraamidou, Lucy
Research in Science & Technological Education, v31 n1 p90-115 2013
Background: Reform recommendations around the world call for an understanding about the nature of science and the work of scientists. However, related research findings provide evidence that students hold stereotypical views of scientists and the nature of their work. Purpose: The aim of this case study was to examine the impact of an intervention on 15 elementary school students' views of scientists. Sample: An urban, fifth-grade, European elementary school classroom defined the context of this study. Design and method: The intervention was an 11-week-long investigation of a local problem concerning water quality. In carrying out this investigation the students collaborated with a young metrology scientist to collect and analyse authentic data that would help them to construct a claim about the quality of the water. The students' initial views of scientists were investigated through a drawing activity, classroom discussions and interviews. Results: Analysis of these data indicated that all students but one girl held very stereotypical views on scientists and the nature of their work. Analysis of interviews with each student and classroom discussions after the intervention illustrated that they reconstructed their stereotypical views of scientists and the nature of their work owing to their personal engagement in the investigation and their collaboration with the scientist. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that more in-depth study into project-based approaches, out-of-school learning and school-scientist partnerships is warranted, for the purpose of determining appropriate pedagogies that support students in developing up-to-date understanding about scientists and the nature of their work. (Contains 3 tables and 1 figure.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A