Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Lab Aliens, Legendary Fossils, and Deadly Science Potions: Views of Science and Scientists from Fifth Graders in a Free-Choice Creative Writing Program
by Hellman, Leslie G., M.S., California State University, Long Beach, 2017, 82; 10606696
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study uses children’s writing to explore the divide between a conception of Science as a humanistic discipline reliant on creativity, ingenuity and out of the box thinking and a persistent public perception of science and scientists as rigid and methodical. Artifacts reviewed were 506 scripts written during 2014 and 2016 by 5th graders participating in an out-of classroom, mentor supported, free-choice 10-week arts and literacy initiative. 47% (237) of these scripts were found to contain content relating to Science, Scientists, Science Education and the Nature of Science. These 237 scripts were coded for themes; characteristics of named scientist characters were tracked and analyzed. Findings included NOS understandings being expressed by representation of Science and Engineering Practices; Ingenuity being primarily linked to Engineering tasks; common portrayals of science as magical or scientists as villains; and a persistence in negative stereotypes of scientists, including a lack of gender equity amongst the named scientist characters. Findings suggest that representations of scientists in popular culture highly influence the portrayals of scientists constructed by the students. Recommendations to teachers include encouraging explicit consideration of big-picture NOS concepts such as ethics during elementary school and encouraging the replacement of documentary or educational shows with more engaging fictional media.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gomez-Zwiep, Susan
Commitee: Colburn, Alan, Henriques, Laura
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Science Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Creative writing, Philosophy of Science, Science education
Keywords: Creativity, Elementary students, Nature of science, Ngss, Science and humanities, Science and literacy
Publication Number: 10606696
ISBN: 9780355280593
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