Date of this Version
The ‘mad scientist’ stereotype is alive and well – and not an image most K-12 students can (or want to) embrace. Project Fulcrum, a National Science Foundation-funded GK-12 program, partners math, science and engineering graduate students with elementary and middle-level teachers. One project goal – broadening student images of science and scientists –is addressed by projects developed by the teacher/scientist teams that are focused on the specific needs of their students. The projects developed focus on scientists, the use of science in different types of jobs, and developing scientific skills. Pre-project research, in which teachers probe the motivation behind their students’ attitudes, is a critical component of developing a successful project. Although determining the specific impact of this project on student attitudes is complicated by its being part of a larger project, teachers and scientists report enhanced awareness of student attitudes and the reasons underlying those attitudes, and generated ideas to address those motivations.