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What do you want to be when you grow up?
What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you want to be an astronaut? Or perhaps you want to be a doctor or nurse? Or even a biology teacher? According to researchers, eighth graders who are interested in math and science are more likely to major in a science when they go to college.
Authors from the University of Virginia asked a group of eighth graders "what kind of work do you expect to be doing when you are 30 years old?" The researchers then asked the same kids, when they were adults what college degree they earned.
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The scientists found that a lot of eighth graders who were interested in science in middle school graduated from college with a science degree.
The researchers say that their study shows that early exposure to math and science make students more interested in it later in life.
The researchers also looked at the students' grades. They found that students who did well in math were more likely to go to college for a science degree. However, more students who wanted to be scientists but had lower grades in math still ended up interested in science as adults and majoring in it in college.
This study is very important, especially to scientists and teachers here in the U.S., because over the past 10 years there has been a big drop in the number of U.S. scientists as well as students studying it in college.
If a child is interested in science early they're more likely to pursue a science-related degree and ultimately a career in science, so you never know, that rock collection or love for catching lightning bugs may lead to a career in science.
This research by Robert Tai from the University of Virginia and his colleagues appears in the 26 May 2006 issue of the journal Science.