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PERC 2009 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: PER in Early Grades: Introducing the Tools of Physicists to Young Children
Abstract: This research turns the PER lens back in the developmental timeline, asking how early instruction using microcomputer-based laboratories (MBL) and interactive lecture demonstrations (ILD) can teach second and third graders motion concepts, using motion graphs as representational tools. Seventeen children in a mixed-age second and third grade classroom participated in the study. In the first session the children explored MBL materials in a semi-structured manner. The second session followed the structure of ILDs (a structured prediction/observation/report approach). Each session lasted one hour. Qualitatively, the children demonstrated understanding slope (both direction and speed), and the graph as a narrative of motion. Qualitatively, children revealed that they were extending their understanding of the motion graph representation beyond the target instruction. This research summarizes an encouraging first step that PER has applications when working with much younger students, not only in teaching motion concepts but also in promoting the use of abstract tools.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Jason Kahn
Tufts University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Ronald K. Thornton
Tufts University
csmt -at- tufts.edu