Third grade African American students' views of the nature of science

Authors

  • Leon Walls

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    1. University of Vermont, Waterman Building, Rm. 532, 85 S. Prospect St, Burlington, Vermont 05405
    • University of Vermont, Waterman Building, Rm. 532, 85 S. Prospect St, Burlington, Vermont 05405.
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Abstract

This study examined the nature of science (NOS) views of lower elementary grade level students, including their views of scientists. Participants were 23 third-grade African American students from two Midwest urban settings. A multiple instrument approach using an open-ended questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, a modified version of the traditional Draw-A-Scientist Test (DAST), and a simple photo eliciting activity, was employed. The study sought to capture not only the students' views of science and scientists, but also their views of themselves as users and producers of science. The findings suggest that the young African American children in this study hold very distinct and often unique views of what science is and how it operates. Included are traditional stereotypical views of scientists consistent with previous research. Additionally, participants expressed excitement and self-efficacy in describing their own relationship with science, in and outside of their formal classrooms. Implications for teaching and learning NOS as it relates to young children and children of color are discussed. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 49: 1–37, 2012

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