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Durham e-Theses
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Primary children's perception of science and scientists

Marsh, Gwyneth A. (1998) Primary children's perception of science and scientists. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Primary children's perceptions of science and scientists have been relatively less studied than similar perceptions of secondary school students. The perceptions of younger children may be important, as, in combination with their later experiences, they may affect students’ decisions in respect of studying science at higher levels. With the advent of the National Curriculum for Science, primary school children now have access to a broader base of science study. Children in state schools aged 9 years old (Year 5), have had all their science experience under the aegis of the National Curriculum. In this study, the perceptions of boys and girls in different types of schools were compared, to identify any differences in their perceptions of science and scientists- The schools in the study comprised, mixed state schools, mixed independent schools and single sex independent schools. The children drew a scientist, completed a questionnaire and performed three scientific tasks to assess their perceptions of science and scientists. The tasks were selected to be of female, male and neutral orientation. The study found that the children's perception of scientists was different from that found by other studies of the perceptions of scientists of younger children, in that more girls are likely to perceive a scientists as being female. This was particularly the case in single sex girls' schools. The children were less positive about scientific experiments than has been found previous studies and in comparison with 11 year old (Year 8) secondary school entrants. The division of the sciences, namely that physics is more of a male subject, appears to still be prevalent, particular amongst boys in boys only schools.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1998
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:42

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