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ERIC Number: EJ1199654
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-4308
Studying Children's Knowledge Base of One-Sided Levers as Force Amplifiers
Leuchter, Miriam; Naber, Britta
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v56 n1 p91-112 Jan 2019
Attention to core concepts in science and engineering in early education has grown recently, and understanding levers as force amplifiers can be recognized as one of these. Previous studies focused on two-sided levers and do not provide sufficient information about children's knowledge of levers as force amplifiers, nor about their learning and its support from an education perspective. It is important to consider load distance and force distance separately, as may be done in one-sided levers, to understand children's knowledge of levers as "simple machines" thoroughly. Moreover, children's zone of proximal development and the possibilities to foster their knowledge should be explored to understand important features of teaching. We thus directed two studies with 6- to 7-year-old children. In study 1, we conducted a paper-and-pencil test in the context of wheelbarrows (N = 370; age M = 6.62). We investigated whether it is possible to empirically separate the features load, load distance, and force distance as well as to determine their level of difficulty. Our study showed that children's concepts of the three aspects load, load distance, and force distance are fragmented, with children finding it continuously more difficult to judge load, load distance, and force distance correctly. In study 2, we developed a 20-min intervention with a controlled 2 × 2 pre-post follow-up design for exploring the zone of proximal development of 304 6- to 7-year-old children in the domain of one-sided levers as force amplifiers, focusing on force distance and load distance. We implemented a structured learning environment that encouraged the children to manipulate wheelbarrows and supported them with pictures and/or verbal prompts. 6- to 7-year-old children had a higher learning gain when they were exposed to scaffolds that combined pictures and verbal prompts in the posttest as well as in the follow-up test four weeks later compared to the control group.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A