How do young children view science? Do these views reflect cultural stereotypes?
When do these views develop?
These fundamental questions in the field of science education have rarely been studied with the population of preschool children. One main reason is the lack of an appropriate research instrument that addresses preschool children‟s developmental competencies. Extensive body of research has pointed at the significance of early childhood experiences in developing positive attitudes and interests toward learning in general and the learning of science in particular. Theoretical and empirical research suggests that stereotypical views of science may be replaced by authentic views following inquiry science experience. However, no preschool science intervention program could be designed without a reliable instrument that provides baseline information about preschool children‟s current views of science. The current study presents preschool children‟s views of science as gathered from a pioneering research tool. This tool, in the form of a computer “game,” does not require reading, writing, or expressive language skills and is operated by the children. The program engages children in several simple tasks involving picture recognition and yes/no answers in order to reveal their views about science. The study was conducted with 120 preschool children in two phases and found that by the age of 4 years, participants possess an emergent concept of science. Gender and school differences were detected. Findings from this interdisciplinary study will contribute to the fields of early childhood, science education, learning technologies, program evaluation, and early childhood curriculum development.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2011. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisors: Roger T. Johnson and Bhaskar Upadhyay. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 245 pages, appendices A-F.
Dubosarsky, Mia D..
Science in the eyes of preschool children: findings from an innovative research tool..
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