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ERIC Number: EJ1038236
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jun
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-1059-0145
Supporting Scientific Experimentation and Reasoning in Young Elementary School Students
Varma, Keisha
Journal of Science Education and Technology, v23 n3 p381-397 Jun 2014
Researchers from multiple perspectives have shown that young students can engage in the scientific reasoning involved in science experimentation. However, there is little research on how well these young students learn in inquiry-based learning environments that focus on using scientific experimentation strategies to learn new scientific information. This work investigates young children's science concept learning via inquiry-based instruction on the thermodynamics system in a developmentally appropriate, technology-supported learning environment. First- and third-grade students participate in three sets of guided experimentation activities that involve using handheld computers to measure change in temperature given different types of insulation materials. Findings from pre- and post-comparisons show that students at both grade levels are able to learn about the thermodynamics system through engaging in the guided experiment activities. The instruction groups outperformed the control groups on multiple measures of thermodynamics knowledge, and the older children outperform the younger children. Knowledge gains are discussed in the context of mental models of the thermodynamics system that include the individual concepts mentioned above and the relationships between them. This work suggests that young students can benefit from science instruction centered on experimentation activities. It shows the benefits of presenting complex scientific information authentic contexts and the importance of providing the necessary scaffolding for meaningful scientific inquiry and experimentation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 3; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 1
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A