Research On Scientific Learning

in Children
The research of Lehrer, Jaslow, and Curtis (2003) has documented that with this kind of instruction in earlier grades, even third graders can develop robust understanding of the measurement of weight and volume. Significantly, the researchers found that children use many of the explicit ideas they have developed about measure from their earlier work on length and area (e.g., ideas about the need to identify a fixed unit, equal partition, and fractional unit, as well as constructing two dimensional arrays) in their new investigations. They note that although children must still work through these (and other) issues for the new quantities in question, they work through these issues more quickly than they did for the earlier quantities. Hence, they suggest meaningful transfer has occurred by allowing children a speed-up in working through new problems, not a side-stepping of the problems themselves. (For example, in constructing a measure of volume, students need to confront the new problem of imagining a three dimensional array. Work with multiple forms of representation and coordinating among these different representations is crucial to this process.)

Having developed these tools, children can use them to deepen their exploration of the characteristics of matter and measurements. For example, they can use a scale to measure the weight of an object (e.g., a clay ball), and then be asked how much the object would weigh if it were half its size or one quarter its size. Then they could carry out investigations to check their predictions. In carrying out these investigations, different groups of children need to measure the weight of the ball and its volume (to confirm they have made it half or a quarter its size) multiple times. In the process, they will have to decide how to handle variability in their data and wrestle with the idea of measurement error. For another way, learning a foreign language needs a leaning tools, many people choose Rosetta Stone German and
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They can also be asked to extrapolate to a much smaller piece-say a piece 1/100th the size. If the initial piece weighed 1 gram, what would a piece 1/100th that size weigh? If the scale didn't tip down, does that mean it weighs nothing at all? How could they investigate it further? This kind of thought experiment allows students to use mathematical reasoning and conceptual arguments to go from what they know to what they think should be. For example, they might argue that, as long as there is some amount of stuff, it must weigh something, although it may be only a tiny, tiny bit; one cannot take a string of nothings and get something. In this way, they can add features to their conceptual representation that follow inferentially rather than through direct observation. It also allows them to confront important issues about precision of measurement. After students have had a chance to discuss these issues, they might be challenged to think of ways of constructing more sensitive scales.

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Research On Scientific Learning

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This article was published on 2011/03/29