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ERIC Number: EJ1070454
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1307-9298
Parent-Child Conversations about Evolution in the Context of an Interactive Museum Display
Shtulman, Andrew; Checa, Isabel
International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, v5 n1 p27-46 2012
The theory of evolution by natural selection has revolutionized the biological sciences yet remains confusing and controversial to the public at large. This study explored how a particular segment of the public--visitors to a natural history museum--reason about evolution in the context of an interactive cladogram, or evolutionary tree. The participants were 49 children aged four to twelve and one accompanying parent. Together, they completed five activities using a touch-screen display of the phylogenetic relations among the 19 orders of mammals. Across activities, participants revealed similar misconceptions to those revealed by college undergraduates in previous studies. However, the frequency of those misconceptions was attenuated by the level of parental engagement, particularly the frequency of turn-taking between parents and children. Overall, these findings suggest that evolutionary reasoning may be improved by the kinds of collaborative discussions fostered by interactive museum displays, so long as the affordances of those displays encourage multi-user interactions.
International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education. T&K Akademic Rosendalsvein 45, Oslo 1166, Norway. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL-0953384