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ERIC Number: ED469628
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Jul
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Are Intuitive Rules Universal?
Stavy, Ruth; Tsamir, Pessia; Tirosh, Dina; Lin, Fou lai; McRobbie, Campbell
In their work in science and mathematics education, the authors have observed that students intuitively react in similar ways to a wide variety of scientific tasks. These tasks differ with regard to their content area and/or to the reasoning required for their solution, but share some common, external features. We have identified three types of intuitive responses: "More A-more B" and "Same A-same B" which relate to comparison tasks, and "Everything can be divided endlessly" which relate to repeated division tasks. For example, in respect to the first intuitive rule: "More A-more B", when students are told that Tom saves 15% of his salary, and Mary saves 20% of her salary, they tend to incorrectly claim that Mary saves more money than Tom, because 20 is larger than 15. This response is in line with the intuitive rule "More A (percentage) - more B (money)." Similarly, when presented with the task: Is the size of a muscle cell of a mouse larger than/equal to/ smaller than/ a muscle cell of an elephant, students tend to incorrectly argue that the cells of the larger animal are larger ("larger animal-larger cells"). Based on such observations, we developed the Intuitive Rules Theory. This theory explains and predicts students' common responses to science and mathematics tasks. Many responses that the literature describes as alternative conceptions could be interpreted as evolving from the intuitive rules. The intuitive rules theory is based on data collected in the western world. It is interesting and important from both theoretical an practical points of view to test the universality of this theory. For this purpose, a cross-cultural study was carried out with Israeli, Taiwanese and Aboriginal Australian elementary and secondary school students. A wide variety of comparison and repeated division tasks were given to the participants. Our findings indicate that Taiwanese and Aboriginal Australian students, much like Israeli ones, are strongly affected by the intuitive rules. Many students provided incorrect responses to the tasks, most of which were in line with the intuitive rules. Also, developmental trends were found to be similar. Consequently, we suggest that the intuitive rules are universal and affect students' responses in different countries in the same manner. Educational implications concerning the learning and teaching of science and mathematics in general and of specific concepts in particular will be discussed. In the lecture additional studies carried out in Jordan and Argentina are described. (Author/YDS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Israel; Taiwan