ABSTRACT

Public images of the scientists and engineers are inaccurate and misconceptions are prevalent. The purpose of this study was to explore how elementary school students' images of scientists and engineers are similar and different. This study involved 389 fifth and sixth grade students from three elementary schools in a metropolitan city. Fralick et al. (2009)'s "Draw a scientist at work and Draw an engineer at work" and Song and Kim (1999)'s "Mental images of Scientists" were modified and utilized to collect elementary school students' pictorial and mental images of scientists and engineers. The results showed that 68.1% of the total drawings were male scientists and 23.8% were female scientists. Scientist in drawings were characterized by crazy hair, lab coat, lab glasses, experimenting, testing, and generating knowledge. Whereas 78.5% of the total drawings were male engineers and 12.3% were female engineers. Engineers were depicted by wearing the laborer's clothing, working outdoors, building, fixing, and manufacturing. In addition, scientists were illustrated with studied plants, flasks, test tubes, desks, chairs, and robots while engineers were showed with building tools, robots, airplanes, and machines. Moreover, scientists were perceived more intelligent, imaginative, and accurate. The results of this study revealed that elementary school students had a lack of accurate images of scientist and engineers. These results support the rationale of elementary school technology and engineering education and suggest that the earlier exposure to technology and engineering in the elementary school classroom could help elementary school students form accurate and positive images of science and engineering.

KEYWORD

Scientist, Engineers, Image, Perception, Drawing

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