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ERIC Number: ED518723
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 268
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-0536-6
"I Remember when We Stayed Still and the Computer Still Made Lines": Young Children's Invented and Conventional Representations of Motion
Kahn, Jason
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Tufts University
This dissertation concerns kindergarteners' and second graders' invented representations of motion, their interactions with conventional representations of motion built from the child's movement in front of a motion detector and using real-time graphing tools, and any changes in the invented representations that this interaction brings about. We have known for several decades that advanced learners (high school aged and beyond) struggle with physics concepts of motion and sometimes Cartesian graph-based representations of motion. Little has been known about how younger students approach the same concepts. In this study, eighteen children (10 kindergarteners and eight second graders) completed a three-hour clinical interview spread out evenly over three weeks. In the first and last interviews, the child was asked to produce external representations of movement and interpret conventional distance and time graphs of motion. In the second interview the children interacted with a motion detector and real-time graphing tools in a semi-self-directed format. Qualitative and quantitative results are presented and discussed. Qualitative data shows that children are adroit at representing motion and their productions are systematic and purposeful. Children produce drawings that both give context to the physical environment around them and also redescribe the drawn environment, meaning that they provide a potential audience with information otherwise imperceptible, by making certain implicit aspects more explicit. Second graders quickly appropriate the Cartesian graph during the intervention, though at times misinterpret the meaning associated with slope. Children correctly associate slope with direction, but at times misattribute sign of slope (positive or negative) and its corresponding direction (i.e. some children do not ascribe positive slope with motion away from a point of reference, but toward it). Kindergarteners showed a range of experiences during the intervention, one of the students showed a near mastery in interpretation of a Cartesian graph as a representation of motion, while another vehemently resisted graph as a representation of motion. Quantitative data gives a mechanism for comparing pre- and post-assessment productions. Both kindergarten and second grade students provide richer post-assessment representations, with kindergarteners more likely to include a figurative point of reference in the post-assessment and second graders including more explicit information about speed. The implications of this study are that invented representations of motion are a powerful tool for providing insights into children's thinking. The motion detector and real-time graphing tool can be used as early as kindergarten to help children build resources in their representations of motion; second grade students could find the same benefit and potentially begin to build conventional ideas about graphing and movement. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A