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An initial study on the influences of problem solving in children's learning

Lee, C.B., Chai, C.S. and Teo, T.ORCID: 0000-0002-7552-8497 (2008) An initial study on the influences of problem solving in children's learning. In: 16th International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE) 2008, 27 - 31 October 2008, Taipei, Taiwan



Researchers have advocated problem solving to induce learners in conceptual change process as problem representation is central to whether or not learners achieve the intended change [1]. One way to help learners develop their problem representations is through tools that will enable them to externalize problem representations [2] and this can be done by encouraging learners to build dynamic models of the real world systems as it not only supports problem solving but also the transfer of knowledge. This study which included a sample size of 70 fifth grade students was conducted in a public elementary school in two science classrooms. Students who received the treatment were given an ill-structured problem to solve by building dynamic system models as a form of external representation. Quantitative data were collected through a pre and post test quasi experimental design. Responses from Knowledge Tests and Problem Solving Skills Tests were pilot tested for reliability prior to the actual study. Results gained from the pre and post tests showed that students who had gone through the problem solving activity achieved better conceptual understanding on the two main concepts of the water cycle-evaporation and condensation than those who were not given the treatment. This group of students also managed to build more sophisticated conceptual models. This suggest that a problem solving environment may enable students to develop or activate their problem solving skills and enabled them to see the value of meaning making in science.

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