ERIC Number: ED264128
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Impact of Microcomputer-Based Science Labs on Children's Graphing Skills.
Mokros, Janice R.
Microcomputer-based laboratories (MBL), the use of microcomputers for student-directed data acquisition and analysis, represents a promising new development in science laboratory instruction. This descriptive study determined the impact of MBLs on middle school students' understanding of graphs of distance and velocity. The study was based on the premise that understanding the use and interpretation of symbol systems such as graphs is a central developmental task for all children. Sixth-grade students received five MBL lessons on distance and velocity, where they were challenged to construct different kinds of graphs via their own movements and the movements of a toy cart. Results (based on classroom observations and a post-intervention quiz which required students to match graphs with written descriptions of these graphs) indicated that after experience with MBL, students could accurately match complex graphs of physical phenomena with written descriptions of these graphs. Children attained a mean accuracy level of 85 percent on the matching task which involved graphs of position and velocity (including negative velocity). Observations corroborated these findings, and showed that students' understanding of graphs was resistant to countersuggestion. By linking the concrete and the abstract, MBL may be providing a bridge that facilitates the development of formal operational thinking. (Author/JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Technical Education Research Center, Cambridge, MA.