Gifted elementary students’ interactions with female and male scientists in a biochemistry enrichment program

Hsiao-Ching She, Lloyd H. Barrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to examine how gender and level of self-concept relate to elementary gifted students' participation in a biochemistry enrichment program taught by female and male scientists. Eighteen students were observed during whole-class lessons. Twelve students (6 boys and 6 girls) were selected from the i8for small group observation on the basis of their ME: Self-Concept scores. The twelve were separated into high self-concept (HSC) and low self-concept (LSC) groups. Each of these two groups was in turn divided into three pairs: girl-boy, boy-boy and girl-girl. Scientist-student and student-student interactions were videotaped, then analyzed with a coding system modified from Rennie s Activity-Based Schedule and Brophy-Good's Dyadic Interaction Schedule. Results showed that LSC students tended to ask more questions and received more feedback, especially explanation, than HSC students. Boys tended to initiate more questions, called out more often, and received more feedback, most from the male scientist. Girls answered more scientist-initiated process questions than boys. Girl-girl groups interacted more with peers than boy-boy groups, and within boy-girl groups, boys did more manipulating, while girls did more watching and discussing with other groups. In this enrichment program, the scientist student interaction patterns paralleled previous teacher-student interaction studies.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)45-66
JournalJournal of Elementary Science Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1997


  • Classroom Observation
  • Female Scientist
  • Process Question
  • Procedural Question
  • Male Scientist


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