How do science camps affect middle grade students' image of scientists?
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Background: Many survey studies conducted in different countries have reported that students had stereotypical images of scientists, such as being male, old, bald, wearing eyeglasses, and working in laboratories. There are also intervention studies to introduce real scientists and change students' stereotypical image of scientists. The current work is one such study. Purpose: To monitor the change in the image of scientists of students attending in four similar science camps. Sample: In total, 96 students participated. However, only those (78) who had taken all tests were included in analysis. Design and Methods: One-week camp was repeated four times. The camp team consisted of non-stereotypical scientists who interacted with the students throughout the camps both formally while they were guiding student inquiry into nature and informally at other times. The students were asked to draw 'a scientist at work', similar to Draw a Scientist Test (DAST), as pre- and post-application in all camps, and as retention in two. Non-parametric tests were applied. Results: Five common stereotypical images of scientists in pre-application were symbols of research, symbols of knowledge, symbols of technology, being male, and working in laboratory. Only decrease in being male and increase in symbols of technology from pre- to post-application were statistically significant. Another statistically significant increase was in number of scientists working in nature. When the data from two science camps with retention were combined, statistically significant changes were found in symbols of knowledge (increase from post- to retention), being male (decrease from pre- to post- and pre- to retention), working in laboratory (increase from pre- to retention), and working in nature (increase from pre- post-). Conclusion: The camps were more effective in decreasing the stereotypical image of scientists being male and introducing that science can also be conducted in nature. Other issues were discussed in the paper.