Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Collaborative Scientific Reasoning: How Parents Support Development and Facilitate Transfer of a Scientific-Reasoning Strategy

Fender, Jodi Galco (2004) Collaborative Scientific Reasoning: How Parents Support Development and Facilitate Transfer of a Scientific-Reasoning Strategy. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (869kB) | Preview


Thus study was designed to explore how children learn about a scientific-reasoning strategy while engaged in parent-child activity, and specifically to answer two research questions: 1) Can children learn and transfer a scientific reasoning strategy when provided training situated within parent-child activity? and 2) How do parents support young children's learning and transfer of a scientific reasoning strategy? Thirty parent-child dyads with younger (5- to 6-years-old) and older (7- to 8-years-old) children were recruited to engage in shared scientific-reasoning activities in which they were provided training in the Control of Variables Strategy (CVS): a strategy for designing unconfounded experiments and interpreting the experimental outcome. Families were provided opportunities to apply and transfer their learning of the strategy while exploring materials in two domains in two sessions spaced one month apart. When provided training situated within parent-child activity, 5- to 8-year-old children demonstrated that they could learn to use CVS. Although both older and younger children were able to learn the strategy, age-related differences were detected in children's transfer abilities. While older children continued to improve in their use of CVS at the second session, younger children's performance decreased. In answer to Research Question 2, this study illuminated ways that parents and young children engage in scientific activity and build on subsequent related activity. To support children's engagement, parents varied their support in the design and execution of experiments and they engaged in conversations that supported planning and evaluating activity. Parents reminded children of the strategy and redirected activity to support the generation and evaluation of interpretable evidence. We observed that parents sometimes explicitly reminded children of prior shared activity; these parents were more likely to have children who later became the most reliable users of CVS. Further research is needed, however, to establish causal links between specific types of parent support and patterns of parent-child activity and resultant child learning and transfer.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Fender, Jodi
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCrowley, Kevincrowleyk@pitt.eduCROWLEYK
Committee MemberSchunn, Christianschunn@pitt.eduSCHUNN
Committee MemberKlahr,
Committee MemberForman, Elliceellice@pitt.eduELLICE
Committee MemberFord, Michaelmjford@pitt.eduMJFORD
Date: 14 December 2004
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 15 November 2004
Approval Date: 14 December 2004
Submission Date: 3 December 2004
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: informal learning; learning; museum learning; parent-child learning; scientific thinking
Other ID:, etd-12032004-131602
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:07
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:52


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item