A Small Scale Investigation Into the Factors Influencing the Conceptual Change in Children's Scientific Thinking

3384 WordsOct 15, 201214 Pages
A small scale investigation into the factors influencing the conceptual change in children’s scientific thinking Abstract The present study aims to compare how Piaget and Vygotsky theories promote conceptual change in children’s scientific thinking. The investigation is an adaptation of a procedure used in 1930 by Piaget and compares two children’s predictions and explanations of why some objects float or sink. Children’s thinking is then challenged using discovery learning and scaffolding with the aim to investigate how each approach promotes a shift in their scientific thinking. Their explanations are coded, quantified and compared. The findings support Piaget stage theory and although scaffolding approach proved more effective,…show more content…
Participants Volunteering children from a primary school in the Oxford area, in the UK, were video-recorded taking part into a practical investigation of objects that float and sink. Two video-recorded interviews were retained for the purpose of the study: one with Daniel, a 7 years old boy; and the other with Jessica, a 12 years old girl. Material The interviews were video-recorded by a film producer, two camera operators and a sound recordist, using cameras, lights and a microphone boom. The interviews took between 30 and 35 minutes. The interviewer used the same objects with all the participants. They are listed in Appendix 1 and 2 (Object column). In addition a plastic balance and 2 similar boxes but of different size filled with the same quantity of lenses were employed. The video-recorded interviews and their transcripts were provided on a Media Kit DVD ROM as part of course resources, together with a collection data sheet form. Procedure Semi-structured interviews were conducted individually by Terezinha Nunes, at that time Professor of Psychology at Oxford Brookes University and who did not previously know the participants, in Daniel’s school library room, during the school day, in March 2005. Both children were accompanied by a classroom assistant. A film producer, two camera operators and a sound recordist and a member of the Open University module team were present, too. Given the big number of adults present

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