University of Twente Student Theses


Leren experimenteren op de basisschool

Brands, L. (2015) Leren experimenteren op de basisschool.

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Abstract:One of the goals of Science and Technology education is designing sound experiments. Children can use experiments to discover certain scientific principles or phenomena. In order for these experiments to be valid, children need to apply the ‘control of variables strategy’ (CVS): an experimental procedure which states that only one variable per test should be changed while all other variables need to be held constant. The literature shows the perceived difficulty of children to use the CVS. This study investigated three instructional methods for the acquisition of the CVS in elementary school children. More specifically, the study compared the ‘productive failure’ method with direct instruction and unguided discovery learning in terms of learning outcomes, retention, and degree of transfer. The study also examined whether the children’s achievement level influenced the effectiveness of these instructional methods. Eighty-four children from two Dutch elementary schools were assigned to the productive failure condition, the direct instruction condition or the discovery learning condition. In a time period of four weeks, children participated in a pretest, training phase, posttest, retention test and transfer test. The results indicated that children were able to learn the CVS: their scores on the posttest were significant higher than those on the pretest. Productive failure proved superior to discovery learning in this respect, but did not lead to better retention and transfer. Productive failure yielded comparable learning outcomes, retention and transfer as did direct instruction. Children’s achievement level has no significant influence on the effectiveness of the three instructional methods. Explanations and suggestions for further research are given.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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