The development of modern science has been set in social and cultural contexts that have influenced greatly the development of scientific conceptual schemes and problem-solving processes. Similarly, the development of scientific concepts and problem-solving skills in school science is embedded in social and cultural contexts that are very powerful in shaping the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that influence what is learned (Cole & Griffin, 1987). The peer group has an especially great influence upon attitudes and behavior among adolescents and some ethnic minorities (Ogbu, 1986) in mid-American culture. What is the nature of that influence? How can that influence be utilized productively to promote more effective science education? How can that influence be engaged in promoting access to science and mathematics for women and ethnic minorities? Education in science will itself become more scientific as research reveals more of the complex intersections between cognitive development and the social contexts that are so significant in school learning.