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ERIC Number: EJ1169998
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-4308
Young Children's Near and Far Transfer of the Basic Theory of Natural Selection: An Analogical Storybook Intervention
Emmons, Natalie; Lees, Kristin; Kelemen, Deborah
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v55 n3 p321-347 Mar 2018
Misconceptions about adaptation by natural selection are widespread among adults and likely stem, in part, from cognitive biases and intuitive theories observable in early childhood. Current educational guidelines that recommend delaying comprehensive instruction on the topic of adaptation until adolescence, therefore, raise concerns because children's scientifically inaccurate theories about species may be left unchallenged for many years, allowing them to entrench and become difficult to overcome. In consequence, this investigation sought to explore whether classrooms of kindergartners and second graders could acquire a basic but comprehensive understanding of adaptation from an intervention constructed around two picture storybooks that mechanistically explain natural selection. Learning was assessed in near and far transfer contexts both immediately and a month later. Kindergartners and second graders demonstrated substantial learning of biological information; however, second graders showed pronounced abilities to near and far generalize, immediately and over time. Results suggest that causally cohesive interventions with an emphasis on mechanistic explanation facilitate children's classroom learning of complex counterintuitive scientific ideas.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1007984; 50204432