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ERIC Number: ED563040
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 19
An Alternative Time for Telling: When Conceptual Instruction Prior to Exploration Improves Mathematical Knowledge
Fyfe, Emily R.; DeCaro, Marci S.; Rittle-Johnson, Bethany
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
An emerging consensus suggests that guided discovery, which combines discovery and instruction, is a more effective educational approach than either one in isolation. The goal of this study was to examine two specific forms of guided discovery, testing whether conceptual instruction should precede or follow exploratory problem solving. In both cases, the problem solving is considered exploratory because children have not been told how to solve the problems; rather, children are expected to generate or apply their own problem solving procedures. The difference is in the timing of conceptual instruction. The authors worked with children from 12 second- and third-grade classrooms in two urban, public schools in Tennessee. Participants were 183 second- and third-grade children. The intervention had a conceptual instruction phase and an exploratory problem solving phase. The two phases were identical for all children; the only difference between conditions was the timing of the two phases (instruct-solve vs. solve-instruct). The authors used a pretest- intervention-posttest design followed by a two-week retention test. Children were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: instruct-solve or solve-instruct. Evidence suggests that guided discovery promotes deeper learning than discovery or instruction alone. Tables and figures are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 3
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee