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Supporting children’s science knowledge acquisition, science reasoning, and science self-concept through block play

  • Previous research concerned with early science education revealed that guided play can support young children’s knowledge acquisition. However, the questions whether guided play maintains other important prerequisites such as children’s science self-concept and how guided play should be implemented remain unanswered. The present dissertation encompasses three research articles that investigated 5- to 6-year-old children’s science knowledge, science theories, and science self-concept in the stability domain and their relation to interindividual prerequisites. Moreover, the articles examined whether children’s science knowledge, science theories, and science self-concept can be supported by different play forms, i.e., guided play with material and verbal scaffolds, guided play with material scaffolds, and free play. The general introduction of the present dissertation first highlights children’s cognitive development, their science self-concept, and interindividual prerequisites, i.e., fluid and crystallised intelligence, mental rotation ability, and interest in block play. These prerequisites are applied to possible ways of supporting children during play. The first article focused on the measurement of 5-to-6-year-old children’s stability knowledge and its relation to interindividual prerequisites. Results suggested that children’s stability knowledge could be measured reliably and validly, and was related to their fluid and crystallised intelligence. The second article was concerned with the development of children’s intuitive stability theories over three points of measurement and the effects of guided and free play, children’s prior theories as well as their intelligence on these intuitive theories. Results implied that guided play with material and verbal scaffolds supported children’s stability theories more than the other two play forms, i.e., guided play with material scaffolds and free play. Moreover, consistency of children’s prior theories, their fluid and crystallised intelligence were related to children’s theory adaptation after the intervention. The third article focused on the effect of the playful interventions on children’s stability knowledge and science self-concept over three points of measurement. Furthermore, the reciprocal effects between knowledge acquisition and science self-concept were investigated. Results implied that guided play supported knowledge acquisition and maintained children’s science self-concept. Free play did not support children’s stability knowledge and decreased children’s science self-concept. No evidence for reciprocal effects between children’s stability knowledge and their science self-concept was found. Last, in a general discussion, the findings of the three articles are combined and reflected amidst children’s cognitive development. Summarising, the present dissertation shows that children’s science knowledge, science theories, and science self-concept can be supported through guided play that considers children’s cognitive development.

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Author:Anke Maria Weber
Title Additional (German):Unterstützung des naturwissenschaftlichen Wissenserwerbs, Schlussfolgerns und Selbstkonzepts von Vorschulkindern durch Bauspiel
Advisor:Miriam Leuchter, Julia Karbach
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2021/03/17
Date of publication:2021/03/24
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 5
Date of final exam:2021/02/25
Release Date:2021/03/24
Tag:cognitive development; playful learning; preschool children; science learning; self-concept
GND Keyword:Kognitive Entwicklung; Vorschulkind
Number of pages:vii, 245 Seiten
Kumulative Dissertation
Institutes:Fachbereich 5 / Institut für Bildung im Kindes- und Jugendalter
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG