Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers outline ways to advance scientific thinking in children

Date:
August 19, 2011
Source:
Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:
Science educators aim to nurture, enrich and sustain children's natural and spontaneous interest in scientific knowledge using many different approaches. In a new paper, researchers use cognitive and developmental psychology research to outline ways to advance the science of science instruction.

Science educators aim to nurture, enrich and sustain children's natural and spontaneous interest in scientific knowledge using many different approaches. In a new paper published in the journal Science, Carnegie Mellon University's David Klahr and Jamie Jirout and Illinois State University's Corinne Zimmerman use psychology research to outline ways to advance the science of science instruction.

Related Articles


"Instead of looking at this issue from a science education perspective, we looked at it from a cognitive and developmental psychology perspective," said Klahr, the Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor of Cognitive Development and Education Sciences at CMU. "And from our point of view, it's clear that you can't understand how to teach unless you understand how children learn."

For the paper, Klahr and his colleagues reviewed literature on the early development of scientific thinking and then focused on recent research on how to best teach science to children from preschool to middle school. They characterized scientific thinking in terms of two features: content, which includes an array of domain-specific topics such as feedback; and processes, including formulation of hypotheses and designing experiments.

"When you're looking at how children should be taught, the instructional methods should be consistent with their cognitive capacity," Klahr said. "Children can get lost with too much open-ended instruction with too little structure. On the other hand, too much structure can get boring. There needs to be a fine balance between both."

Another problem Klahr and his team identified was in the way science educators classify their classroom instruction using global terms that are not clearly defined and therefore not uniformly used. The research team introduced a method for clearly describing the type of instruction used that covers aspect, materials, goal setting, physical manipulation of materials by child, design of each experiment, probe questions, explanations, summary, execution of experiments and observation of outcomes.

"Instruction labels don't matter -- it's what actually happened in the classroom that matters," Klahr said. "Using clear descriptive explanations of what happens in the classroom are the only way to make advances in science education."

The team also advocates for increased use of intelligent tutors in science education. An example given is TED, which has successfully helped children learn how to design experiments. The tutor looks at mistakes that are made and asks questions to train the children on how to create a solid experiment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Mellon University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. Klahr, C. Zimmerman, J. Jirout. Educational Interventions to Advance Children's Scientific Thinking. Science, 2011; 333 (6045): 971 DOI: 10.1126/science.1204528

Cite This Page:

Carnegie Mellon University. "Researchers outline ways to advance scientific thinking in children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818142755.htm>.
Carnegie Mellon University. (2011, August 19). Researchers outline ways to advance scientific thinking in children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818142755.htm
Carnegie Mellon University. "Researchers outline ways to advance scientific thinking in children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818142755.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins