ERIC Number: ED254410
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: 0
Computer Simulations and the Transition from Concrete Manipulation of Objects to Abstract Thinking.
Berlin, Donna F.; White, Arthur L.
This study explores a learning model which suggests that a concept is acquired first through manipulation of concrete objects followed by transformation of the concrete objects into semi-concrete representations, followed by internalization of the concept through abstract representations. Microcomputer simulations of manipulative activities were used to determine how children differ in their use of science-process skills and concepts when using the simulations compared to using the concrete materials, or a combination of simulations and concrete materials. Subjects included 113 children distributed according to male and female, second- and fourth-grade level, and socio-cultural site. Criterion measures assessed the children's ability to: recognize and duplicate a design; recognize and extend a pattern; and locate objects in space. Results indicate that: (1) fourth graders performed better than second graders; (2) rural, white children performed better than suburban, black children with activities involving the computer; (3) rural, white girls performed better than suburban, black girls using concrete-only activities; and (4) rural, white boys using activities involving the computer performed better than suburban, black girls using concrete-only activities. These findings suggest that concrete and computer activities have different effects on children depending upon their socio-cultural background and upon their sex. (Author/JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Science Education Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (58th, French Lick Springs, IN, April 15-18, 1985).