NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ834739
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Feb
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-1524-8372
How Mathematics Propels the Development of Physical Knowledge
Schwartz, Daniel L.; Martin, Taylor; Pfaffman, Jay
Journal of Cognition and Development, v6 n1 p65-88 Feb 2005
Three studies examined whether mathematics can propel the development of physical understanding. In Experiment 1, 10-year-olds solved balance scale problems that used easy-to-count discrete quantities or hard-to-count continuous quantities. Discrete quantities led to age typical performances. Continuous quantities caused performances like those of 5-year-olds. In Experiment 2, 11-year-olds solved problems with feedback. They were encouraged to use math or words to justify their answers. Children who used math developed an understanding superior to most adults, whereas children who used words did not. In Experiment 3, 9-year-olds solved problems with or without prompts to use math. Children encouraged to use math exhibited greater qualitative understanding, even though they were unable to discover metric proportions. The results indicate it is possible to design symbolic experiences to propel the development of physical understanding, thereby relating developmental psychology to instructional theory. (Contains 6 figures and 2 tables.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee
IES Cited: ED532215