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WILL IT FLOAT? The effect of supporting fourth-grade students in drawing conclusions whilst experimenting in the domain of buoyancy

Pol, M. van der (2011) WILL IT FLOAT? The effect of supporting fourth-grade students in drawing conclusions whilst experimenting in the domain of buoyancy.

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Abstract:Inquiry learning is a type of learning in which learners have to investigate a domain. Instead of explicitly being told about a domain, the learner has to ask questions, perform experiments, search for explanations, and draw conclusions. By doing so, the learner is supposed to acquire deep knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. However, research has shown that inquiry learning is difficult for learners and support is needed. In this study, 60 children in the fourth grade of elementary education were asked to investigate the domain of buoyancy, whilst either receiving support in drawing conclusions (experimental condition) or not (control condition). They were given a bowl with water and several cubes differing in size, weight, and color and asked to determine which characteristics of the objects influenced the sinking or floating of the objects. All students completed a pretest, posttest and a six-weeks retention test. Results indicate that students in all conditions benefit from the inquiry learning setting; however, students who received support in drawing conclusions achieved higher scores. The question style (open or closed questions) appears to be crucial in testing students’ knowledge about the domain. It seems that, in line with former research (Kopitzki & Gijlers, 2011; Zimmerman, 1997), preconceptions and more scientifically sounded concepts remain side-by-side, and when forced to choose, students may prefer to stick to their initial preconception.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61330
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