ERIC Number: ED391652
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Apr
Promoting Loud Thinking about Light in Elementary School Science.
Segal, Gilda; Cosgrove, Mark
In studying young children learning in inclusive environments, we designed ways to enable children to explore scientific knowledge that is usually believed to require later didactic teaching. Aspects of this design under scrutiny here are, first, the capacity of natural learning to lead to effective scientific ideas, and second, further clarification of the role of context. We found that in conversational modes, children were able to generate ideas and theories, to test them (by extended discussion in which they examined the logical consequences of holding those ideas, and by subjecting them to critical tests), and then to generate further theories. In doing so, the role of analogical analysis was especially productive; the simile of moving objects bouncing from a surface helped the idea of light traveling to emerge naturally (a contrary finding to the belief that understanding the propagation of light should precede the study of reflection). In this environment children studied keenly and cooperatively, kept records and critiqued the topic. As a result of this learning our view on the ages at which children might begin to deal with scientific ideas have been revised downwards. (Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (San Francisco, CA, April 1995).