Deductive Reasoning in Elementary and Primary Science Learning


Duration:
October 2010 – September 2012

Funding:
German Research Foundation

Cooperation Partners:
Prof. Dr. Kornelia Möller, Steffen Tröbst, Christin Robisch (Seminar für Didaktik des Sachunterrichts, University of Münster)
Prof. Dr. Ilonca Hardy, N.N. (University of Frankfurt/Main)

Summary:

Referring to the mental models theory of deductive reasoning, the project aims at the investigation of instructional scaffolds for fostering processes of deductive reasoning in early science education. In a first study, we will explore the dependence of deductive reasoning in science learning on several limiting factors (pre-knowledge, intelligence, understanding the nature of science, working memory) cross-sectionally with children of varying ages in order to identify starting points for the design of promising instructional scaffolds for promoting deductive reasoning in early science education. In a subsequent experimental study, we will compare different forms of scaffolds with each other with respect to their effectiveness in fostering deductive reasoning. Furthermore (and crucially), we will investigate the influence of supported deductive reasoning on conceptual change in science. In a possible continuation of the project, we will use the results of the two aforementioned studies to design learning environments for elementary and primary science education. We then will compare the effects of these learning environments with the effects of standard moderate-constructivist instruction. Finally, we will use the results of the entire project for the creation of teaching materials for elementary and primary science education.


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