DOI: 10.3390/educsci13121198 ISSN: 2227-7102

The Construction of Precursor Models in the Thinking of Young Children: The Case of Expansion and Contraction of Metals

Paraskevi Charalampopoulou, George Kaliampos, Konstantinos Lavidas, Konstantinos Ravanis
  • Public Administration
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

The aim of the current study is to examine how preschool children overcome their difficulties regarding thermal expansion and contraction and construct in their minds a precursor model; that is, an entity compatible with school knowledge. Having investigated these difficulties through a pretest, a teaching intervention was implemented based on both the telling of a fairy tale and the carrying out of experimental activities. Finally, the changes in children’s thinking were studied with a posttest. The study involved 36 children aged 4–6 years who voluntarily participated in individual semistructured interviews conducted by three researchers in a special kindergarten setting. The results of the study revealed statistically significant progress in children’s responses between pre- and posttests. Furthermore, the finding of almost 1/3 of children’s responses being compatible with school knowledge indicates that (a) it is possible for children of that age to construct a precursor model for thermal expansion and contraction and (b) the combination of storytelling along with experimental activities is probably an appropriate teaching strategy.

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