The acquisition of scientific knowledge: the influence of methods of questioning and analysis on the interpretation of children's conceptions of the earth

Abstract : Studies of children’s knowledge of the Earth have led to very different conclusions: some appear to show that children construct their own, non-scientific ‘theories’ (mental models) of the flat, hollow or dual Earth. Others indicate that many young children have some understanding of the spherical (scientific) Earth, and that their knowledge lacks the coherence of mental models. The reasons for these contrasting views were tested by interviewing French children (N5178) aged 5–11 years and varying the differentmethods used in previous research, namely the types of questions (open and forced-choice), the form of representation (two-dimensional pictures and three-dimensional models), and the method of analysis (the mental model theorists’ coding scheme and a statistical test for associations using MANOVA). Forced-choice questions resulted in higher proportions of scientific answers than open questions, and children appeared to have naı¨ve mental models of the Earth only when the mental model theorists’ coding scheme was used. These findings support the view that children tend to have ‘fragments’ of scientific knowledge, and that naı¨ve mental models of the Earth are methodological artifacts.
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Article dans une revue
Infant and Child Development, Wiley, 2011, 20 (6), pp.432 - 448. 〈10.1002/icd.730〉
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01560580
Contributeur : Sören Frappart <>
Soumis le : mardi 11 juillet 2017 - 16:42:22
Dernière modification le : jeudi 13 juillet 2017 - 01:08:55

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Valérie Frède, Gavin Nobes, Sören Frappart, Georgia Panagiotaki, Bertrand Troadec, et al.. The acquisition of scientific knowledge: the influence of methods of questioning and analysis on the interpretation of children's conceptions of the earth. Infant and Child Development, Wiley, 2011, 20 (6), pp.432 - 448. 〈10.1002/icd.730〉. 〈hal-01560580〉

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