shown to differ for children depending on their gender (Kahle, 1998; Kahle and Meece, 1994; Sadker and Sadker, 1992, 1994).
Teachers, like parents, have been observed to question children of different genders in different ways and to encourage science-related skills (question-asking, use of tools) variably according to gender. For example, in science classes, teachers are more likely to encourage boys to ask questions and to explain concepts (American Association of University Women, 1995; Jones and Wheatley, 1990). This calls attention to the critical role adults can play in supporting science learning and the importance of adults’ roles as facilitators across multiple contexts (Crowley et al., 2001a; Falk and Dierking, 1992, 2000; McCreedy, 2005).
Many efforts outside of home and school exist and have been developed specifically to address concerns about gendered science trajectories (Seeing Gender, 2006). However, while many programs see immediate impacts (albeit often self-reported), few programs have the benefit of funding and opportunity to look longitudinally at their impact (Gender Equity Expert Panel, 2000). As discussed in Chapter 5 a handful of studies have specifically looked at gender relations and the interactions of families in museum contexts which have documented, among other things, variable participation and interaction structures for boys and girls (Borun et al., 1998; Crowley et al., 2001b; Diamond, 1986; Dierking, 1987; Ellenbogen, 2002; Laetsch, Diamond, Gottfried, and Rosenfeld, 1980).
A review of research on girls’ participation in physics in the United Kingdom (Murphy and Whitelegg, 2006) reinforces how differences in perceptions may influence strategies for engagement. Girls and boys differed in what they considered relevant when solving problems. These differences have the potential to lead to differing perceptions of competence. Differences between what girls and boys have learned is relevant and has a valuable effect on the problems they perceive. Girls are more likely to give value to the social context in which tasks are posed in defining a problem; boys are more likely than girls not to “notice” the context (Murphy and Whitelegg, 2006). What learners pay attention to—or learn to value as useful information—may influence what they learn and may also result in negative perceptions of their competence among educators and parents.
Careerchoices. With regard to career choices, some have focused on early intervention due to concerns about decreases in girls’ perception of their science ability over years of schooling (Jovanovic and King, 1998). In looking at career patterns of youth first questioned in middle school and then followed into their adult lives, Tai, Liu, Maltese, and Fan (2006) document the importance of career expectations for young adolescents and suggest that early elementary experiences (before eighth grade) may be critical. Fadigan and Hammrich’s (2005) longitudinal study of high school girls who participated in an after-school, summer, and weekend program offered by