How parent explanation changes what children learn from everyday scientific thinking

Thursday, March 22, 2007
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Public Programs, Informal/Formal Connections
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Families | Parents/Caregivers | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Education and learning science | General STEM
University of Pittsburgh

Two studies examined how parent explanation changes what children learn from everyday shared scientific thinking. In Study 1, children between ages 3- and 8-years-old explored a novel task solo or with parents. Analyses of children's performance on a subsequent posttest compared three groups: children exploring with parents who spontaneously explained to them; children exploring with parents who did not explain; and children exploring solo. Children whose parents had explained were most likely to have a conceptual as opposed to procedural understanding of the task. Study 2 examined the causal effect of parent explanations on children's understanding by randomly assigning children to conditions in which they were or were not provided explanation while exploring a novel task with an adult. Children who heard explanations were more likely to switch from procedural to conceptual understanding. Results are discussed with respect to the role of everyday explanation in the development of children's scientific thinking.

Publication Name: 
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Page Number: 

Team Members

Jodi FenderJodi FenderAuthor

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