ERIC Number: ED351130
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Apr-21
Reference Count: N/A
Children's Understanding of Machines.
This study, which examined children's understanding of machines, focused on how children decide which objects are machines and which are not, and how they group machines as similar or different. Brainstorming sessions involving two groups of four kindergarten children and one class each from the second, fourth, and fifth grade, were conducted. Interviews with 13 children from the same grade levels were also conducted. All subjects attended an inner city public school. Results indicated that, although children differed in the ways they decided which things were machines, a number of criteria were frequently used by children in making their decisions. These criteria included controls, power sources, autonomy, motors, functionality or utility, and complexity. Younger children were more likely than older children to focus on external properties, use a single criterion for determining if something was a machine, and make judgments inconsistent with previous ones. Older children demonstrated a greater sense of mechanical understanding than did younger children; were more likely to apply multiple criteria for determining if something was a machine; and were more sensitive to conflicts between criteria, than were younger children. Two appendices provide copies of the protocols for group brainstorming and individual interviews. (MDM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 20-24, 1992).