ERIC Number: ED436256
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
Research on Early Science Education.
Landry, Christopher E.; Forman, George E.
The implementation of basic research on children's scientific thinking into science curricula continues to be a slow process. This chapter summarizes research on cognitive development that has helped to establish the goals for much of early science education and examines its implications. The chapter begins by describing scientific thinking and linking it to a model: (1) understanding the need for explanation, influenced by developmental constraints; (2) understanding that observable data are essential to substantiate claims and are linked to intuitive theories and previous experience; and (3) understanding that explanations need to meet logical criteria and are influenced by teacher practices. The chapter examines research on children's development of an understanding of mental states and activities and application of this understanding to science thinking and discusses research on children's ideas about science. Finally, the chapter considers the teacher's role and examines the types of intervention suggested from various lines of research, including using conversation, documenting children's thinking, using drawing to learn scientific concepts, and incorporating collaborative problem solving. The chapter concludes by noting that the model of science thinking helps to develop a constructivism that accounts for the interchange among children, their peers, and their teacher and that recognizes developmental constraints and the importance of children's intuitive understanding. This perspective leads to a social constructionism that is child-centered while acknowledging the teacher's role in bridging the discovery process and socially constructed symbol systems. (Contains 58 references.) (KB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A