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ERIC Number: EJ933510
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-0269-2465
The Pterodactyl and the Crow
Watkins, Richard
Primary Science Review, n89 p4-7 Sep-Oct 2005
In this article, the author focuses on developing scientific reasoning in year 6 children. Having embarked on a series of lessons in which the author hoped to uncover children's ideas about how and why they reason in a particular way, the results were to prove instrumental in developing not only his teaching of scientific enquiry, but also the ability of children to reflect critically on the nature of their scientific judgements. With a strong science background and an interest in the philosophy of science, the author wanted to find out whether the children in his year 6 class in a Welsh school could differentiate between the two principal types of reasoning that characterise modern science: namely, "inductive" and "deductive" reasoning. He wanted to find out whether there was a correlation between the National Curriculum levels they achieved in national testing and the scope and depth of responses they made to the issues raised in this study. Many of the children in this study were able to recognise the unreliability of inductive reasoning in science. However, much of modern science is based on inductive reasoning. The use of inductive reasoning has remained a contentious issue for philosophers of science from the 18th century to the present day, although it forms a keystone of modern scientific process. The children were also able to identify the problem of making predictions about objects they had not examined based on information about objects they had examined. The majority of children in this study, who were working at National Curriculum level 4 or above, were able to identify and articulate the problems of using inductive reasoning in science. The author concludes that children can identify problems of inductive reasoning, but need to recognise that although inductive reasoning plays an important role in modern science, it has limitations. Implications for teaching scientific enquiry are discussed.
Association for Science Education. College Lane Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AA, UK. Tel: +44-1-707-283000; Fax: +44-1-707-266532; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Wales)