The pipeline metaphor used to characterize dwindling interest in science and STEM-related careers has gradually been replaced by alternative models that convey complex pathways into, through and out of science by young men and women. In this chapter, we review literatures from educational psychology, cognitive development, and science education and present our own mixed methods approach to developing a model of the roles that children, parents and teachers play in launching, supporting, and sustaining pathways to science interest from early childhood to the transition to college. We use our longitudinal data to describe cases that illustrate these critical developmental inflection points. These rich cases illustrate the advantages of using qualitative methods, when possible, to augment developmental models derived from more quantitative approaches depicted through path diagrams, phase models, or Sankey diagrams. The cases discussed highlight critical roles that parents and teachers might play in nurturing science interests among males and females. Implications for future research and suggestions for practice are considered.
Development, in fact, may be viewed best as a set of multiple developmental trajectories, and our task as developmentalists is to discover how the interplay between different trajectories of children and adults accounts for outcomes.(Parke et al., 1994, p. 47)
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