A thorough understanding of the concept of the nature of science (NOS) is essential to the development of scientific literacy among students, as it provides the students with the tools and capacity to interpret the scientific knowledge they will encounter. This study focuses on how social factors may influence 1010 Israeli 9th grade students’ understanding of NOS by exploring their perceptions of NOS and the relationship of those perceptions with the students’ gender and their parents’ occupation. The study used a Likert-scale questionnaire entitled “Students’ Ideas about Nature of Science” (SINOS), developed by Chen et al. (2013) to quantitatively examine students’ perceptions of NOS based on the following constructs: creativity and imagination, tentativeness, the durability of scientific knowledge, coherence and objectivity in science, and different gender stereotypes related to NOS. The results show that there is strong agreement among students regarding subjective aspects of NOS as well as whether they believe that both males and females are equally able to engage in scientific endeavors. In fact, the strongest correlation was found between constructs concerning science-for-boys and science-for-girls. Other findings showed that boys tend to agree more with constructs pertaining to coherence and objectivity in science, whereas girls tended to agree more with aspects of science-for-girls. Students whose parents were engaged in science were found to be more likely to agree with the subjective aspects of NOS.
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