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See detailFostering children’s block building self-concepts and stability knowledge through construction play.
Weber, Anke Maria UL; Leuchter, Miriam

in Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology (2022), 80

The study investigated preschool children’s block building self-concepts in relation to their stability knowledge acquisition as implied by the reciprocal effects model and possible effects of different ... [more ▼]

The study investigated preschool children’s block building self-concepts in relation to their stability knowledge acquisition as implied by the reciprocal effects model and possible effects of different forms of play. We investigated three types of construction play: (a) guided play with verbal and material scaffolds, (b) guided play with material scaffolds, and (c) free play. We examined the effects of the different play forms on block building self-concept and stability knowledge acquisition as well as the reciprocal effects model’s fit to preschool children. We implemented a pre-post-follow-up design, N = 183 German 5- to 6-year-olds (88 female). Block building self-concept declined in the free play group, but not in the guided play groups. Both guided play groups outperformed the free play group in stability knowledge acquisition. The reciprocal effects model was not supported. Guided play may be effective in fostering children’s block building self-concepts and stability knowledge. [less ▲]

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See detailProblemlösen in digitalen Kontexten
Reuter, Timo; Weber, Anke Maria UL; Nitz, Sandra et al

in Empirische Pädagogik (2021), 35(1), 5-18

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See detailDer Zusammenhang emotionaler Kosten bei Grundschullehramtsstudierenden mit ihrer informatischen Problemlösekompetenz
Weber, Anke Maria UL; Barkela, Veronika; Stiel-Dämmer, Sabrina et al

in Empirische Pädagogik (2021), 35(1), 93-111

Computational thinking as an aspect of informatic problem-solving is considered to be an increasingly important competence. Computational thinking can already be fostered in primary school children, but ... [more ▼]

Computational thinking as an aspect of informatic problem-solving is considered to be an increasingly important competence. Computational thinking can already be fostered in primary school children, but its teaching in primary school remains sparse. A possible reason might be primary school teachers’ uncertainty regarding computer science and programming. Therefore, we developed a university course to teach the implementation of computational thinking to primary school student teachers with the goal of reducing possible emotional costs such as anxiety. Within this framework, we examined interindividual differences in informatic problem solving and logical thinking as prerequisites for reduction in these emotional costs. 70 students participated in the study with pre- and a post-assessment. A multiple regression showed that students’ emotional costs remained unchanged, however, informatic problem solving had a negative influence. Students with higher informatic problem solving competencies reported lower emotional costs. Logical thinking had no effect. The results indicate that students’ anxiety should be considered when eaching computational thinking. [less ▲]

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See detailAbility of 6- to 7-year-old children to choose the control of variables strategy.
Reuter, Timo; Weber, Anke Maria UL; Flottmann, Julia et al

in Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology (2021), 20(2), 70-82

Planning and conducting experiments require the application of the control of vari- ables strategy (CVS). Research indicates that older children can learn the CVS by engag- ing in guided-inquiry ... [more ▼]

Planning and conducting experiments require the application of the control of vari- ables strategy (CVS). Research indicates that older children can learn the CVS by engag- ing in guided-inquiry activities. It has not been studied yet whether this is also the case for children as young as 6- to 7-years. 145 children aged 6–7 years participated in a study with a pre-, post-, follow-up test design comprising two experimental groups (EG 1, EG 2) and a control group (CG). EG 1 and EG 2 received a structured-inquiry lesson, thus, carrying out six predetermined experiments with an adult’s implicit guid- ance. While the lesson in EG 1 was in the same physics domain as the test’s phys- ics domain, in EG 2 the lesson’s physics domain differed from the test’s domain. The CG did not experiment. We assessed children’s CVS ability with a multiple-choice test. Results suggested that some children in the EGs learned the CVS, whereas in the CG, no learning effects occurred. However, most children in the EGs did not gain in the CVS ability, indicating that the small dose of six experiments in one physics domain was insufficient for learning the CVS. [less ▲]

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See detailMeasuring preschool children’s knowledge of the principle of static equilibrium in the context of building blocks: Validation of a test instrument.
Weber, Anke Maria UL; Leuchter, Miriam

in British Journal of Educational Psychology (2020), 90

Background. Preschoolers’ knowledge of the principle of static equilibrium is an important research focus for understanding children’s science content knowledge. Hitherto studies have mainly used ... [more ▼]

Background. Preschoolers’ knowledge of the principle of static equilibrium is an important research focus for understanding children’s science content knowledge. Hitherto studies have mainly used behavioural observation with small samples. Thus, extending these studies with a validated test instrument is desirable. Aims. The aim was to validate an instrument (the Centre-of-Mass Test), which is concerned with preschoolers’ knowledge of the principle of static equilibrium, using item response theory. In Study 1, the construct structure was tested, and in Study 2, its relationship with stabilities of symmetrical blocks, figural reasoning, figural perception, mental rotation, level of interest, self-concept, motivation, and language capacity was investigated. Samples. A total of 217 five- and six-year-old children participated in Study 1 and 166 five- and six-year-old children in Study 2. Methods. All tests were administered as paper–pencil picture tests in groups and single interviews. Results. In Study 1, the Centre-of-Mass Test’s conformity with a 1PL-testlet model with an overall knowledge of static equilibrium and with two subtests, estimation of stable and unstable constructions, was confirmed. Using a 95% binomial distribution, children were categorized into three knowledge categories: geometrical-centre, centre-of-mass, and undifferentiated knowledge. In Study 2, knowledge of the principle of static equilibrium showed positive correlations with figural perception and reasoning, language capacity, and estimation of the stabilities of symmetrical objects. Conclusions. The Centre-of-Mass Test measures knowledge of the principle of static equilibrium as a unidimensional construct and mirrors preschoolers’ estimations found in previous studies. The acquisition of a more sophisticated static equilibrium knowledge is related to spatial knowledge and language capacity. [less ▲]

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See detailThe impact of a construction play on 5- to 6-year-old children’s reasoning about stability.
Weber, Anke Maria UL; Reuter, Timo; Leuchter, Miriam

in Frontiers in Psychology (2020), 11

Theory: Young children have an understanding of basic science concepts such as stability, yet their theoretical assumptions are often not concerned with stability. The literature on theory theory and ... [more ▼]

Theory: Young children have an understanding of basic science concepts such as stability, yet their theoretical assumptions are often not concerned with stability. The literature on theory theory and theory-evidence coordination suggests that children construct intuitive theories about their environment which can be adjusted in the face of counterevidence that cannot be assimilated into the prior theory. With increasing age, children acquire a Center theory when balancing objects and try to balance every object at their middle, succeeding with symmetrical objects. Later, they acquire the basic science concept of stability through learning that the weight distribution of an object is of importance. Thus, they acquire a Mass theory and succeed in balancing asymmetrical objects as well. Fluid and crystallized intelligence might contribute to children’s acquisition of Mass theory. Moreover, their Mass theory might be supported by implementing a playful intervention including (a) material scaffolds and (b) verbal scaffolds. Aims: We investigated which theories children have about stability and whether these theories can be adjusted to Mass theory by implementing a playful intervention. Method: A total of 183 5- to 6-year-old children took part in the study with a pre-post-follow-up intervention design. Children’s Mass theory was assessed with an interview in which children explained constructions’ stabilities. The children received a playful intervention with two differing degrees of scaffolding (material scaffolds or material + verbal scaffolds) or no scaffolding. Results: At first few children used a Mass theory to explain their reasoning. However, after being confronted with counterevidence for the asymmetrical constructions, children changed their explanation and applied a Mass theory. More children in the play group with the highest degree of scaffolding, i.e., material + verbal scaffolds, acquired a Mass theory compared to the other groups. Fluid as well as crystallized intelligence contributed to children’s acquisition of a Mass theory. Discussion: Counterevidence can support children in their acquisition of a Mass theory. A playful intervention with scaffolding supports children even more. [less ▲]

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See detailThe restorative value of the urban environment: A systematic review of the literature.
Weber, Anke Maria UL; Trojan, Jörg

in Environmental Health Insights (2018), 12

Background: Stress poses a major issue in our modern society, making restoration an important research focus. Restoration likelihood has mostly been observed in nature, which was compared with urban ... [more ▼]

Background: Stress poses a major issue in our modern society, making restoration an important research focus. Restoration likelihood has mostly been observed in nature, which was compared with urban environments that have little restorative potential, eg, industrial areas. However, many people reside in and need to find restoration in cities. The main aim of this review is to summarize research that has focused on investigating restoration possibilities in urban environments and the environmental elements interacting with the restoration likelihood of an urban environment. Method: This review focuses on studies addressing the topic of restoration possibilities in urban settings in built and human-made natural urban environments. The studies were searched via Google Scholar, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and PSYNDEX. All studies concerned with restoration in urban environments were included. However, studies concerned with nonoriginal data, solely investigating effects of natural environments or treating urban environments as a control for restoration in nature, were excluded from the review. Overall, 39 studies corresponded to the criteria and were included. Results: Natural elements in urban environments have a restorative potential and can increase the restorativeness of urban settings. Furthermore, built urban environments vary in their restorative potential, but promising results have been uncovered as well. Architectural elements, cultural, and leisure areas had a restorative value, whereas the findings on streets and residential areas differ. In sum, many urban locations can have restorative effects, but these effects may be influenced by factors such as cultural background, age, social components, and individual dispositions. Discussion: Certain urban environments hold a restorative potential. However, the literature on restoration in urban environments is still quite scarce and therefore has been of little practical use. Even though applying the findings to real-life environments is desirable, it might prove difficult, considering the overall sparse evidence. More research on the predictors of restoration likelihood (eg, social factors), generational and cultural differences, and comparisons between natural and urban environments is recommended. [less ▲]

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See detailFrühe naturwissenschaftliche Bildung und Förderung
Weber, Anke Maria UL; Leuchter, Miriam

in Schmidt, Thilo; Smidt, Wilfried (Eds.) Handbuch empirische Forschung in der Pädagogik der frühen Kindheit (2018)

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