Students' use of analogies in making predictions in novel situations

Fotou, Nikolaos (2014) Students' use of analogies in making predictions in novel situations. In: International Conference New Perspectives in Science Education, 2014, Florence. Italy.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


This cross age study was designed to investigate how students make predictions in novel situations and the role which self generated analogies play in non-scientific reasoning. Mixed methods were used combining group discussions with questionnaires. One age-group from each level of the Greek education system were recruited. Thirteen, sixteen and twelve students participated from Year 4 (primary education), Year 9 (secondary education, Greek ‘Gimnasium’) and Year 11 (secondary education, Greek ‘Lyceum’) respectively from three different schools in Greece. Nine focus group discussions were conducted in combination with the administration of a six pictorial item questionnaire. Students’ responses were analysed to ascertain whether their predictions drew on the use of analogies. Also, responses were analysed to see if students of different ages drew on the same analogies when made predictions in the same novel situations. It emerged that there were many similarities among students’ predictions as well as the analogies they used to explain the latter. For the explanations students provided for the predictions they made a total of 21 analogies were identified. The findings indicate that connecting analogies to novel situations was important in the construction of predictions. The children in Years 4 and 9 made the same predictions using similar, and in many cases identical analogies in their predictions. Whilst students in Year 11 made the same predictions and did make use of those same, similar, analogies the frequency with which they drew on analogies to make predictions appeared much less than for the two younger groups. This study found that students regularly make use of analogies, rather than scientific thinking. Results also indicated that the analogies students use derived from phenomena they observe at a very young age. Teachers need to be aware of the nature of analogies students make use of in order to help them use the analogies correctly and in accordance with concepts they are taught facilitating the way they make sense of abstract scientific knowledge.

Keywords:Analogue, Analogical reasoning, Predictions, self-generated analogies, Bmjconvert
Subjects:X Education > X320 Academic studies in Primary Education
X Education > X990 Education not elsewhere classified
X Education > X390 Academic studies in Education not elsewhere classified
X Education > X330 Academic studies in Secondary Education
X Education > X900 Others in Education
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
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ID Code:18935
Deposited On:07 Oct 2015 08:13

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