An examination of gender differences in scientific problem solving strategies as students progress through an implementation of an astronomy multimedia program
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The present study was designed to evaluate gender differences in scientific problem solving strategies as a possible factor contributing to females’ low performance and participation in science. Two groups, a group of high interest, mostly high performing males, and a group of low interest, low performing females, were formed and studied within the context of an ®astronomy class implementing the NASA-sponsored Astronomy Village: Investigating the Universe™ software program. As the students progressed through the implementation, along with their problem solving strategies, the students’ prior knowledge, performance, conceptual understanding, self-regulation, and motivation were examined to understand how these variables both impacted and were influenced by the students’ problem solving strategies. Although the males had greater prior knowledge, problem solving strategies, conceptual understanding, self-regulation, and motivation than the females, the implementation of Astronomy Village had a more positive impact on the females than the males.