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ERIC Number: EJ903720
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 66
ISSN: ISSN-1050-8406
Children's Conceptions about the Origin of Species: A Study of Italian Children's Conceptions with and without Instruction
Berti, Anna Emilia; Toneatti, Laura; Rosati, Veronica
Journal of the Learning Sciences, v19 n4 p506-538 2010
Investigations of people's understanding of the evolution of species have focused mainly on secondary school and university students. Very few investigations have taken into consideration younger students, and none have related children's ideas about the origin of species to formal instruction on this topic. To help fill this gap, the present study examines the effect of this instruction in elementary school children by comparing Italian second graders (n = 21; age = 7 years, 1 month, to 8 years, 7 months) with third graders (n = 18; age = 8 years, 1 month, to 9 years, 4 months) who had been taught about "the earth before humans" for several months in keeping with the Italian National Syllabus for this grade level. Semistructured interviews were used to examine children's thoughts about speciation. The majority of second graders used a creationist framework, whereas most third graders used a mixed framework (referring to both creation and evolution) or an evolutionary framework. However, children did not know about the mechanism of evolution and considered it to be the result of the passage of time, the use and disuse of body parts, or the need to adapt to a changing environment, as suggested by their teacher and textbooks. (Contains 6 tables and 2 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Grade 3
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy