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ERIC Number: EJ961589
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 37
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
ISSN: ISSN-0737-0008
Children's Mechanistic Reasoning
Bolger, Molly S.; Kobiela, Marta; Weinberg, Paul J.; Lehrer, Richard
Cognition and Instruction, v30 n2 p170-206 2012
Reasoning about mechanisms is one of the hallmarks of disciplined inquiry in science and engineering, but comparatively little is known about its precursors and development. Children at grades 2 and 5 predicted and explained the motion of simple mechanical systems composed entirely of visible linkages (levers). Students' explanations of device behavior suggested four forms of knowledge: simple recognition of device components, noting of structural relations among components, construction of cause-effect rules derived by observation of regularities in device behavior, and identification of essential system components and interactions among components that accounted for cause-effect rules. Only a few children coordinated multiple essential components to constitute a mechanistic causal scheme. Mechanistic causal schemes, in turn, were associated with successful prediction of the output motion of a system. Device tracing via gesture and talk appeared to support this form of knowledge development, and hence may inform future instructional design. (Contains 17 figures and 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2; Grade 5; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A