Exploring Children’s Reasoning About Continuous Causal Processes Through Visual Cues and Non-Verbal Assessment in Science Education: A Case Study of Chinese Primary School Children

Jinruo Duan, Rong Yan*, Sam Zare, Jike Qin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Causal reasoning is important to children's cognition and academic development. However, there is a dearth of empirical studies on the impact of visual cues and non-verbal scaffolding on children's reasoning in continuous causal processes. Hence, the present study aims to explore how causal reasoning in continuous processes is facilitated by visual mind maps and multiple-choice questions through science experiments. By randomly selecting 136 children aged 9-13, the following results were obtained : (1) children provided with the mind map containing visual causal cues performed significantly better than the non-cue group on the explanation task regardless of age differences; (2) children assessed by non-verbal multiple-choice questions scored significantly higher in explaining causal relationships than those using only verbal reports, suggesting that identification and explanation need to be differentiated for a more accurate evaluation of causal reasoning ability. The above results have valuable implications for science curriculum and pedagogy at primary schools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1163/23641177-bja10076
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalAsia Pacific Science Education
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2024

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