ERIC Number: EJ1116588
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Recognition as Support for Reasoning about Horizontal Motion: A Further Resource for School Science?
Howe, Christine; Taylor Tavares, Joana; Devine, Amy
Research in Science & Technological Education, v34 n3 p273-289 2016
Background: Even infants can recognize whether patterns of motion are or are not natural, yet an acknowledged challenge for science education is to promote adequate reasoning about such patterns. Since research indicates linkage between the conceptual bases of recognition and reasoning, it seems possible that recognition can be engaged to support reasoning. Purpose: Noting the theoretical and practical significance of showing that recognition can support reasoning, the reported research aimed to examine the possibility in relation to horizontal motion. Sample: The research was conducted with 167 children (mean age = 9.51 years) from Years 4, 5 and 6 of an English-medium school located in Lisbon, Portugal. Design and methods: Individual pre-tests were administered to all participants to assess initial reasoning about the direction and speed with which rolling balls travel after collision. Reasoning was assessed in the sense of both predicting and explaining. Thereafter, about two-thirds of the sample worked with software that, via simulations of the incorrect patterns that were typically predicted (and comparison with simulations of correct patterns), engaged recognition as feedback on reasoning. The remaining children became an untutored control group. Replicating characteristic computer use in classrooms, half of the software sample worked as singletons with adult guidance available on request and half worked in pairs without the option of guidance. A few weeks later, all participants were post-tested following pre-test procedures. Results: Pre- to post-test change amongst the children who worked with the software exceeded pre- to post-test change within the control group, and this was observed with both predictions and explanations. The differences were strongest amongst the children who worked as singletons, even though they seldom requested adult support. Conclusions: Although issues remain to be addressed before the approach can be optimized, its viability as support for reasoning has been demonstrated, and this may have relevance beyond horizontal motion.
Descriptors: Science Education, Computer Simulation, Infants, Foreign Countries, Pretests Posttests, Control Groups, Statistical Analysis, Comparative Analysis, Prediction, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Children, Elementary School Science
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 3; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Portugal (Lisbon)