Incline Height and Object Weight: Examining the Fluidity of Children’s Commonsense Theories of Motion
Michael Hast 1 *
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1 School of Management and Social Science, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, UK* Corresponding Author


144 children aged 5 to 12 years made initial predictions about the speeds of a heavy and a light ball rolling down a slope. They were then asked to consider how changing the incline height would impact the initial predictions. The findings illustrate a shift from rigid differentiation to more flexible knowledge structures. While perceptions changed with increasing age from light-as-faster to heavy-as-faster, younger children were also less likely to believe that any other incline steepness could conceivably lead to a different outcome. Older children, on the other hand, showed a heightened awareness of how changing incline heights could allow for alternative motion patterns. The study adds to current understanding of conceptual development. It expands on the debate between knowledge-in-pieces and knowledge-as-theory, concluding within its constrained scope that development of scientific knowledge about object motion possibly occurs in a transition from pieces to theory. Consequentially, the paper also considers implications for early science education.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

EURASIA J Math Sci Tech Ed, 2018, Volume 14, Issue 4, 1407-1413

Publication date: 21 Jan 2018

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