Children's mechanistic reasoning

Molly S Bolger, Marta Kobiela, Paul J. Weinberg, Richard Lehrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reasoning about mechanisms is one of the hallmarks of disciplined inquiry in science and engineering, but comparatively little is known about its precursors and development. Children at grades 2 and 5 predicted and explained the motion of simple mechanical systems composed entirely of visible linkages (levers). Students' explanations of device behavior suggested four forms of knowledge: simple recognition of device components, noting of structural relations among components, construction of cause-effect rules derived by observation of regularities in device behavior, and identification of essential system components and interactions among components that accounted for cause-effect rules. Only a few children coordinated multiple essential components to constitute a mechanistic causal scheme. Mechanistic causal schemes, in turn, were associated with successful prediction of the output motion of a system. Device tracing via gesture and talk appeared to support this form of knowledge development, and hence may inform future instructional design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-206
Number of pages37
JournalCognition and Instruction
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Fingerprint

Equipment and Supplies
cause
regularity
Gestures
school grade
engineering
Observation
Students
interaction
science
knowledge
student

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education

Cite this

Children's mechanistic reasoning. / Bolger, Molly S; Kobiela, Marta; Weinberg, Paul J.; Lehrer, Richard.

In: Cognition and Instruction, Vol. 30, No. 2, 04.2012, p. 170-206.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bolger, MS, Kobiela, M, Weinberg, PJ & Lehrer, R 2012, 'Children's mechanistic reasoning', Cognition and Instruction, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 170-206. https://doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2012.661815
Bolger, Molly S ; Kobiela, Marta ; Weinberg, Paul J. ; Lehrer, Richard. / Children's mechanistic reasoning. In: Cognition and Instruction. 2012 ; Vol. 30, No. 2. pp. 170-206.
@article{336920817bab4a21853a4239a3bac233,
title = "Children's mechanistic reasoning",
abstract = "Reasoning about mechanisms is one of the hallmarks of disciplined inquiry in science and engineering, but comparatively little is known about its precursors and development. Children at grades 2 and 5 predicted and explained the motion of simple mechanical systems composed entirely of visible linkages (levers). Students' explanations of device behavior suggested four forms of knowledge: simple recognition of device components, noting of structural relations among components, construction of cause-effect rules derived by observation of regularities in device behavior, and identification of essential system components and interactions among components that accounted for cause-effect rules. Only a few children coordinated multiple essential components to constitute a mechanistic causal scheme. Mechanistic causal schemes, in turn, were associated with successful prediction of the output motion of a system. Device tracing via gesture and talk appeared to support this form of knowledge development, and hence may inform future instructional design.",
author = "Bolger, {Molly S} and Marta Kobiela and Weinberg, {Paul J.} and Richard Lehrer",
year = "2012",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1080/07370008.2012.661815",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "30",
pages = "170--206",
journal = "Cognition and Instruction",
issn = "0737-0008",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Children's mechanistic reasoning

AU - Bolger, Molly S

AU - Kobiela, Marta

AU - Weinberg, Paul J.

AU - Lehrer, Richard

PY - 2012/4

Y1 - 2012/4

N2 - Reasoning about mechanisms is one of the hallmarks of disciplined inquiry in science and engineering, but comparatively little is known about its precursors and development. Children at grades 2 and 5 predicted and explained the motion of simple mechanical systems composed entirely of visible linkages (levers). Students' explanations of device behavior suggested four forms of knowledge: simple recognition of device components, noting of structural relations among components, construction of cause-effect rules derived by observation of regularities in device behavior, and identification of essential system components and interactions among components that accounted for cause-effect rules. Only a few children coordinated multiple essential components to constitute a mechanistic causal scheme. Mechanistic causal schemes, in turn, were associated with successful prediction of the output motion of a system. Device tracing via gesture and talk appeared to support this form of knowledge development, and hence may inform future instructional design.

AB - Reasoning about mechanisms is one of the hallmarks of disciplined inquiry in science and engineering, but comparatively little is known about its precursors and development. Children at grades 2 and 5 predicted and explained the motion of simple mechanical systems composed entirely of visible linkages (levers). Students' explanations of device behavior suggested four forms of knowledge: simple recognition of device components, noting of structural relations among components, construction of cause-effect rules derived by observation of regularities in device behavior, and identification of essential system components and interactions among components that accounted for cause-effect rules. Only a few children coordinated multiple essential components to constitute a mechanistic causal scheme. Mechanistic causal schemes, in turn, were associated with successful prediction of the output motion of a system. Device tracing via gesture and talk appeared to support this form of knowledge development, and hence may inform future instructional design.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84859633315&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84859633315&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/07370008.2012.661815

DO - 10.1080/07370008.2012.661815

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84859633315

VL - 30

SP - 170

EP - 206

JO - Cognition and Instruction

JF - Cognition and Instruction

SN - 0737-0008

IS - 2

ER -