Tma6 Ed208

Study of children’s predictions and understanding of ‘Why objects float’
Two children of different ages participated in a study about ‘why do things float’. Following the procedures set by Professor Nunes. They were asked to take part in a practical experiment, by observing and explaining their predictions and thoughts as to why different objects they were presented with either floated or sank. Their initial responses were recorded into four categories, light floaters, heavy sinkers, heavy floaters and light sinkers. Their predictions were coded to identify any casual themes, such as their thinking of material composition of an object. Some of their predictions were challenged by Nunes to try and determine what kind of understanding children have, where their understanding comes from and how it relates to their scientific understanding they encounter at school. The results are discussed with experiences and theories of Piaget, Vygotsky and Howe’s, and methodical factors were considered for reliability and validity.

There are varying views amongst researchers as to how children understand science. Is it that children develop an understanding of science by themselves, given the right environment as suggested by (Piaget, 1930), or is it that whilst they may form some scientific understanding from their experiences, it is that children develop their scientific understanding from working with others, (Vygotsky, 1962), particularly adults as teachers who develop cognitive change and understanding within the child’s mind, because the teacher   challenges the child’s ideas and predications causing the child to think about their initial ideas in different and more scientific ways, hence developing a higher level of children’s cognitive scientific understanding, which the majority are unlikely to achieve alone.  
It is useful for us to have a reasonably accurate understanding of which objects are likely to sink or float from what we learn and understand...

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