Gender differences in science misconceptions in eighth grade astronomy
The intent of this study was to examine the relationship between gender and science misconceptions at the eighth grade level. This study attempted to ascertain if there are significant differences between genders in the number and types of science misconceptions eighth grade science students have. The specific misconceptions used in this investigation concern gravity, seasons, and phases of the moon. It remains a serious problem in science education that girls are being inadequately trained to question and reflect on their science understandings. It has been suggested that girls may have more problems with misconceptions than do boys. In keeping with the constructivist ideas as to what constitutes an effective way to teach science (Burke, 1995; Lorsbach & Tobin, 2000) this study explored the ability of students to understand theoretical and conceptual principles of science. The data for this study was obtained using the methodology of a multiple choice survey which contains common misconceptions and the correct answers as choices. This survey was administered to eighth grade students in a large suburban school district by their science teachers. Interviews of a randomly selected sample group of 20 (10 boys and 10 girls) were conducted by the researcher. The results of the study used a t-test to compare boys and girls to see if there was a significant difference in type and/or number of science misconceptions. A matrix of possible answers to the survey was used to analyze the results of the interviews. There was a statistically significant difference between the means for the two groups, indicating a gender difference in knowledge of astronomy concepts. The result of the interviews also showed a difference in astronomy knowledge and background information. In addition the interviews showed that girls were very unsure of their answers while boys defended their answers even when they were incorrect.
Gray, P. A. Gender differences in science misconceptions in eighth grade astronomy. Widener University
Type of Publication
Gray, Pamela, A.
Faculty of the School of Human Service Professions
Number of Pages
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America