Malthus for kids: The impact of exploring Malthus' principle on elementary school students' understanding of evolution by natural selection [post]

Xana Sá-Pinto, Alexandre Pinto, Joana Ribeiro, Inês Sarmento, Patrícia Pessoa, Leonor Rodrigues, Lucía Vázquez-Ben, Evangelia Mavrikaki, Joaquim Bernardino Lopes
2021 unpublished
While several researchers have suggested that evolution should be explored from the initial years of schooling, little information is available on effective resources to enhance elementary school students' level of understanding of evolution by natural selection (LUENS). For the present study, we designed, implemented and evaluated an educational activity planned for fourth graders to explore concepts and conceptual fields that were historically important for the discovery of natural selection.
more » ... natural selection. Observation field notes and students' productions were used to analyse how the students explored the proposed activity. Additionally, an evaluation framework consisting of a test, the evaluation criteria and the scoring process was applied in two fourth-grade classes to estimate elementary school students' LUENS before and after engaging in the activity. Our results suggest that our activity allowed students to effectively link all of the key concepts in the classroom and produced a significant increase in their LUENS. These results indicate that our activity had a positive impact on students' understanding of natural selection. They also reveal that additional activities and minor fine-tuning of the present activity are required to further support students' learning about the concept of differential reproduction. We also observed a low level of teleological predictions for both pre- and post-tests.
doi:10.22541/au.161439396.60891973/v1 fatcat:sx6w6xpj35bz3cand73wkbdgbq