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Engaging Young Students in Scientific Investigations: Prompting for Meaningful Reflection

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ISAIJLS Volume 40, Number 1, ISSN 0020-4277


This study examined the verbal prompts a tutor used to promote reflection and young students' responses to these prompts. Seven children (ages 8-12) participated in 260 min of one-on-one tutoring to learn scientific concepts related to gear movement; the tutor spontaneously provided these students with 763 prompts for reflection. Prompts reliably induced reflection: Students responded verbally 87% of the time. Turn-by-turn discourse analysis revealed seven distinct types of prompts and 11 distinct types of verbal responses. High-level prompts were strongly associated with high-level responses. A log-multiplicative association model with two dimensions (temporality and certainty) represented the relationships between prompt and response types; from this model, odds ratios estimated the strength of association between specific pairs of prompt and response types. Findings are discussed in terms of the effects that reflection may have on students' developing understanding of scientific concepts. (Contains 2 figures, 1 footnote, and 8 tables.)


Wilson, T., Perry, M., Anderson, C.J. & Grosshandler, D. (2012). Engaging Young Students in Scientific Investigations: Prompting for Meaningful Reflection. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 40(1), 19-46. Retrieved April 1, 2020 from .

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