STEM 3.3 Early STEM Career Misunderstandings

A little girl drawing a picture.
Ask a child, “What is an engineer?” and she will most likely tell you it is someone who drives a train, or she simply won’t know.

When asked to draw a scientist at work, children will most likely always draw men conducting experiments indoors, often with an Einstein persona with wild hair and a white lab coat [1].

Middle school students generally have no perception of engineering, or they will draw engineers outdoors doing manual labor [2].

Take a moment to consider why this might occur.

  1. Knight, M., and C. Cunningham, 2004, Draw an engineer test (DAET): Development of a tool to investigate students’ ideas about engineers and engineering, Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition,  Salt Lake City, UT: American Society for Engineering Education.
  2. Fralick, B., et al., 2009, How middle schoolers draw engineers and scientists, Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18(1), 60-73.