By the time children are in kindergarten and first grade, they have already developed many misconceptions about the world. Often, children this age believe that scientists are white, old men who work in a laboratory—like Einstein. One of the goals of this lesson is to dispel this myth and show students that anyone can be a scientist, even kids their age.
Students first explore their current ideas about scientists by drawing a picture of what they think a scientist looks like. Then, they go beyond these stereotypes by looking at pictures of different scientists and developing a list of characteristics that scientists share. These activities set the stage for Module 2, during which students learn about the specific work of scientists involved in research about the brain.
In the United States alone, there are more than 11 million scientists and engineers. Of this number almost 4 million are women; nearly 9 million are Caucasian; 597,100 are African American; 417,200 are Hispanic and 805,900 are Asian. These scientists work in a variety of disciplines, including biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, and the earth sciences. As more and more discoveries are being made, additional disciplines in the sciences are emerging. (Source: National Science Foundation 2002)