Chapter

Encountering Counterintuitive Ideas

E. Margaret Evans, Karl S. Rosengren, Jonathan D. Lane and Kristen L. S. Price

in Evolution Challenges

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199730421
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949557 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.003.0008
Encountering Counterintuitive Ideas

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This chapter provides evidence for a developmental learning progression, which can bridge the gap between everyday intuition and scientific reasoning about evolutionary change. First, it describes the learning principles that motivate a developmental learning progression and how they differ from those found in the learning progressions constructed by researchers working in formal education. The chapter then focuses on a developmental learning progression for biological evolution and details how children's and adults' intuitive theories about the natural world constrain their understanding of evolutionary theory, rendering it counterintuitive. The chapter then applies the proposed learning principles to children's and adults' emerging grasp of evolutionary theory and describe both age-related changes in children's and adults' reasoning and changes in reasoning following visits to informal science exhibits on evolution.

Keywords: child development; learning progression; evolution; constraints; intuitive theories; informal science education

Chapter.  11852 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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