Investigating a model of commonsense thinking about causes of motion with 7 to 16-year-old pupils.
International Journal of Science Education, 13(3)
This research reports the testing of a formal causal model of thinking about motion. In order to test a large number and wide age range of subjects (7-16 years), a matching-pairs paper and pencil task was developed. Subjects were asked to distinguish between examples of nine stereotypical motions by comparing the similarity or difference of causes of pairs of motions. It was then possible to test theoretical predictions of the comparisons against empirical data. The results suggest that responses can be predicted by the model but that there is an improvement in the correlations with the addition of an animacy correction. An independent test was carried out where the animate nature of moving objects was varied systemically and it was found that this feature, previously neglected by the theoretical account, was an important distinction in subjects' consideration of causes of motion.
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