University of Twente Student Theses


De meerwaarde van het experimenteren met echte materialen bij onderzoekend leren op de basisschool

Ehrenhard, S. (2012) De meerwaarde van het experimenteren met echte materialen bij onderzoekend leren op de basisschool.

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Abstract:From a young age, students are able to perform simple experiments. Generally, there is no difference in learning performance when performing the experiments with real materials or with a computer simulation. Research by Klahr, Triona and Williams (2007) showed that the tangibility of the materials has no effect on the children’s learning performance and their confidence. Furthermore, children do not prefer experiencing a phenomenon over working with a simulation of that phenomenon (Carlsen & Andre, 1992). Research showed that when participants actively participated in experiments, this has a positive effect on the study: participants understood a subject quicker when they had an active attitude than through passive observation (James, Humphrey & Vilis, 2002). Other research showed how perceptions of children influence their own credibility in the statements (Motzkau, 2011). However, these experiments were about learning new subjects. Whether the results apply when students from primary school have misconceptions about known subjects has not been studied yet. This observation formed the basis for the current study. The research question was: ‘What is the influence of using real versus virtual materials when participating in (or being shown) an experiment on the credibility of the results and the chance of conceptual change?’ To find an answer to this question, 60 young Dutch students aged 10-11 experimented with different types of balls. The children had to investigate how the three variables (weight, size and height) influenced the dropping speed of the balls. The students were divided into three conditions: (1) real materials and personally performing the task; (2) real materials and having an experimenter performing the task and (3) personally performing the task by using a computer simulation. Before starting the task, all participants predicted the falling speed of the balls. After completing the task, they reported their actual observations. Results showed that there was a significant difference between the conditions on a post-test compared with a pre-test. Students from the first condition scored significantly higher than students from conditions 2 and 3. Misconceptions about the weight were corrected most often in condition 1. There were no differences between the conditions for credibility: all seemed confident that their answers on the post-test were correct. Based on these results, it can be concluded that personally working with actual materials is the most effective way of correcting misconceptions. Future research could find out if students’ credibility varies when using a Likert scale. Also, misconceptions on other tasks can be examined.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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