ERIC Number: EJ719764
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Feb-25
Reference Count: 51
The Development of the Concept of "Matter": A Cross-Age Study of How Children Describe Materials
Krnel, Dusan; Watson, Rod; Glazar, Sasa A.
International Journal of Science Education, v27 n3 p367-383 Feb 2005
The development of the concept of matter was explored by interviewing 84 children aged 3-13 in Slovenia. Children were asked to describe objects and substances placed in front of them. Children's responses were coded and explored for patterns indicating development with age. The patterns of responses indicate that by acting on objects and substances students first developed prototypes for substances. This was followed by increasing use of properties to describe objects and substances leading to a growing awareness of the distinction between the intensive properties of matter and the extensive properties of objects. Children's descriptions were analysed from a Piagetian perspective, which hypothesizes that the epigenesis of concepts takes place through children acting on the world. Through their actions children gradually develop more elaborated schema that enable them to distinguish between extensive and intensive properties, and hence between object and matter.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Scientific Concepts, Concept Formation, Preschool Children, Interviews, Child Development, Age, Schemata (Cognition)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Slovenia