In the late 1960s, an intriguing social science experiment was initiated. It asked young children to ‘Draw-a-Scientist’ and was designed to better understand children’s perceptions of scientists.
Most commonly, the sketches children drew included safety goggles, the ubiquitous white lab coat, a plethora of common lab equipment and a man. Five decades on and with data collected from 78 studies (using more than 20,000 children’s drawings) we can see that young people’s ideas about scientists have changed, but there still remains a chasm in their understanding of the work that real scientists do.
Research carried out by King’s College London found that children’s feelings about science and any career aspirations in STEM are formed before the age of 14.
At King’s College Doha, we endeavour to nurture in your child a desire to pursue a STEM career by getting them enthused by STEM at a young age.
Pupils are frequently set STEM challenges, which require them to work as a team to solve real-world problems. Year 6 recently considered the critical concerns facing Bangladeshi farmers. Due to the deleterious impacts of climate change, these farmers face frequent flooding to their low-lying delta farmlands. Pupils were able to design (to varying degrees of success) models of floating gardens, which, through their utilisation of hydroponics, are providing a lifeline to these farmers, their families and communities.
We hope that when your child next draws a scientist, they draw themselves! As storm trackers, app developers, astronauts, entrepreneurs or climate change scientists. The future is theirs.
Zahra Thandi – Head of Science at King’s College Doha Prep-School