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

3373 WordsOct 4, 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, both…show more content…
However, the material is considered, too (M=4). Jessica’s initial explanations are frequently based on objects’ attributes, too (weight W=8, shape Sp=2, size Sz=3, material M=4). Nevertheless she has a more diversified range of explanations; she combines proprieties like mass and water mass (Ma-Wa=1), size and weight, which suggests incipient understanding of concepts like density (D=1). Table 2 Frequency of main causal themes identified in Daniel’s and Jessica’s data Daniel Jessica Code Theme Initial (stage 2 and 5) Stage 6/7 Initial (stage 2 and 5) Stage 6/7 W Weight 11 5 8 3 Sh Shape 6 6 2 1 M Material 4 3 4 3 Sz Size 3 So Solid 2 3 P Painted 1 Po Position 1 E Experience 2 1 DK Don’t know, Not sure 1 6 3 H Holes 2 1 2 A Air 3 1 L Liquid 3 Ma-Wa Mass compared to water 1 2 D Density 1 Total 24 17 33 21 Asked to give one reason for floating or sinking, Daniel gives initially the weight ([03:08] and [06:42]) then he adds the shape [06:42]. Jessica first gives: ‘They are less dense than the water’ [02:40]. However, after stage 5 she regresses and explains the phenomenon depending on weight [13:10 and 13:22]. 2. The children’s explanations following a ‘cognitive
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