University of Twente Student Theses


Effectiveness of concept cartoons and self-explanations to promote sixth-graders’ data-reading and theory-revision skills.

Hooij, Robbert van (2013) Effectiveness of concept cartoons and self-explanations to promote sixth-graders’ data-reading and theory-revision skills.

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Abstract:This thesis aimed to investigate whether eleven-year olds can benefit from concept cartoons supported and self-explanation prompts. The basic assumption was that the combination of these two support measures would enhance children‟s scientific reasoning, in particular their ability to differentiate between tentative hypothesis and solid experimental data. Concept cartoons aspire to elicit conceptual change through the visual and textual presentation of conflicting but apparently plausible scientific ideas. The conflicting ideas in the cartoons are designed to elicit a cognitive conflict, whereby the participant is tempted to think about the ideas and maybe form a new theory. However, according to Stephenson & Warwick (2002), it needs to be supported with encouragement and open-ended questions for it to be effective in teaching. This support could be found in self-explanations. Its constructive nature, with encouragement of integrating new knowledge into existing knowledge and the continuous, on-going and piecemeal fashion in which it is used, could be a suitable complement to the concept cartoon method. A physics task was used in which children had to experiment with different balls to figure out which factors influence drop speed (weight, size and colour). This task was built upon two principles: the common misconception that weight has influence on drop speed, and literature showing that children have problems using data that contradict their initial hypothesis. This study investigated if the combination of concept cartoons and self-explanation could enhance children‟s ability to correctly interpret data and draw valid conclusions based on that data rather than on their initial beliefs. Three conditions were used; a control condition (N = 14), a concept cartoon condition (N = 15), and a concept cartoon plus self-explanation prompts condition (N = 16). Three variables were investigated: cognitive conflict, data reading, and theory revision. Results showed no significant difference between the three conditions with regard to the elicitation of cognitive conflict and theory revision. There was also no significant effect on correct data reading. However, the combination of concept cartoons and self-explanation prompts did elicit a more efficient use of data: children in this condition needed less comparisons to draw a conclusion than children from the other two conditions, regardless of correctness.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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