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ERIC Number: EJ952960
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-1522-7219
The Acquisition of Scientific Knowledge: The Influence of Methods of Questioning and Analysis on the Interpretation of Children's Conceptions of the Earth
Frede, Valerie; Nobes, Gavin; Frappart, Soren; Panagiotaki, Georgia; Troadec, Bertrand; Martin, Alan
Infant and Child Development, v20 n6 p432-448 Nov-Dec 2011
Studies of children's knowledge of the Earth have led to very different conclusions: some appear to show that children construct their own, non-scientific "theories" (mental models) of the flat, hollow or dual Earth. Others indicate that many young children have some understanding of the spherical (scientific) Earth, and that their knowledge lacks the coherence of mental models. The reasons for these contrasting views were tested by interviewing French children (N = 178) aged 5-11 years and varying the different methods used in previous research, namely the types of questions (open and forced-choice), the form of representation (two-dimensional pictures and three-dimensional models), and the method of analysis (the mental model theorists' coding scheme and a statistical test for associations using MANOVA). Forced-choice questions resulted in higher proportions of scientific answers than open questions, and children appeared to have naive mental models of the Earth only when the mental model theorists' coding scheme was used. These findings support the view that children tend to have "fragments" of scientific knowledge, and that naive mental models of the Earth are methodological artifacts. (Contains 3 tables and 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 1; Grade 3; Grade 5; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France