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Children's conceptual understanding of growth

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Date Issued:
2010
Summary:
Growth is a property that is unique to living things. Studies demonstrate that even preschool children use growth to determine whether objects are alive. However, little identifies explanations that children use to attribute growth. The goal of the present study was to investigate how people reason about growth. We hypothesized that older children would outperform younger children in understanding that growth is inevitable for living things, while adults would consistently perform at ceiling levels. Our hypothesis was partially supported. Although adults consistently outperformed children, older children rarely outperformed younger children. Still, both younger and older children performed above chance in attributing growth. Moreover, all participants were more likely to use biological explanations to explain growth. Taken together, this research qualifies the early hypotheses of Piaget (1929) and Carey (1985) that children lack a well developed biological domain before age nine, but suggests that a biological domain, though less developed, is present. Based on these findings, implications for more efficient approaches to science education are discussed.
Title: Children's conceptual understanding of growth.
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Name(s): Copeland, Aquilla D.
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Department of Psychology
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Issued: 2010
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Physical Form: electronic
Extent: viii, 107 p. : ill. (some col.)
Language(s): English
Summary: Growth is a property that is unique to living things. Studies demonstrate that even preschool children use growth to determine whether objects are alive. However, little identifies explanations that children use to attribute growth. The goal of the present study was to investigate how people reason about growth. We hypothesized that older children would outperform younger children in understanding that growth is inevitable for living things, while adults would consistently perform at ceiling levels. Our hypothesis was partially supported. Although adults consistently outperformed children, older children rarely outperformed younger children. Still, both younger and older children performed above chance in attributing growth. Moreover, all participants were more likely to use biological explanations to explain growth. Taken together, this research qualifies the early hypotheses of Piaget (1929) and Carey (1985) that children lack a well developed biological domain before age nine, but suggests that a biological domain, though less developed, is present. Based on these findings, implications for more efficient approaches to science education are discussed.
Identifier: 700943185 (oclc), 2974434 (digitool), FADT2974434 (IID), fau:3568 (fedora)
Note(s): by Aquilla D. Copeland.
Thesis (M.A.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2010.
Includes bibliography.
Electronic reproduction. Boca Raton, Fla., 2010. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Subject(s): Cognition in children
Imagery (Psychology) in children
Child development
Identity (Psychology) in children
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/FAU/2974434
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU