Advancing Scientific Reasoning in Upper Elementary Classrooms: Direct Instruction Versus Task Structuring

Adrianus W. Lazonder, Sjanou Wiskerke-Drost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Several studies found that direct instruction and task structuring can effectively promote children’s ability to design unconfounded experiments. The present study examined whether the impact of these interventions extends to other scientific reasoning skills by comparing the inquiry activities of 55 fifth-graders randomly assigned to one of three conditions. Children in the control condition investigated a four-variable inquiry task without additional support. Performance of this task in the direct instruction condition was preceded by a short training in experimental design, whereas children in the task structuring condition, who did not receive the introductory training, were given a version of the task that addressed the four variables one at a time. Analysis of children’s experimentation behavior confirmed that direct instruction and task structuring are equally effective and superior to unguided inquiry. Both interventions also evoked more determinate predictions and valid inferences. These findings demonstrate that the effect of short-term interventions designed to promote unconfounded experimentation extends beyond the control of variables
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of science education and technology
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2015

Keywords

  • IR-92311
  • METIS-306110

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