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Abstract Title: Causality in Pieces: The Construction of Causal Schemes
Abstract: I will present two case studies of different early high school classes constructing (with no direct instruction from teachers) ways of explaining temperature equilibration. Students were asked to explain, when a cold glass of milk is left on the kitchen table, how and why does it come to room temperature? The first case study shows an unusually clear example where students build an essentially correct causal explanatory scheme (Newton's law of heating) pretty much simply by combining a number of reasonably well-documented intuitive ideas. The second case study shows a similar construction, but of an incorrect causal scheme. Because the elements used in the first case have been reasonably well-studied, we can determine both what had to change in the pieces and how the pieces were combined. This leads to a list of plausibly general "mechanisms of learning."
Abstract Type: Invited Talk

Invited Presentation

Invited Presentation: Download the Invited Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Andrea diSessa
University of California at Berkeley