Poster Title

My Computer Reminds Me of a Rock, It Just Sits There: Gender Difference in Children's Production of Metaphor About Science Topics

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

The project aimed to determine whether modeling science metaphors to children (first, third, fifth grade) would increase their production of metaphors about science topics. Children participated in an open-ended interview about science topics. In the metaphor condition, the investigator modeled metaphors in order to encourage the use of metaphoric language. In the literal condition, children heard corresponding literal descriptions. The interview format was also manipulated. Children were asked both factual and experiential questions about science. The results demonstrated that children in the metaphor condition used more metaphors than children in the literal condition. Further, girls were more likely to use metaphors to communicate their knowledge of science than boys. Such a gender difference has not been found in previous metaphor production research. Finally, questions pertaining to experiential science topics were more likely to be answered metaphorically than questions pertaining to factual science topics. The project broadens our knowledge of children's understanding of science. Finally, it is the only project to examine children's expression of science metaphors. Science educators will find this information useful in developing teaching methods, understanding the way children acquire knowledge about their physical world and how children may develop misconceptions of that same physical world.

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My Computer Reminds Me of a Rock, It Just Sits There: Gender Difference in Children's Production of Metaphor About Science Topics

The project aimed to determine whether modeling science metaphors to children (first, third, fifth grade) would increase their production of metaphors about science topics. Children participated in an open-ended interview about science topics. In the metaphor condition, the investigator modeled metaphors in order to encourage the use of metaphoric language. In the literal condition, children heard corresponding literal descriptions. The interview format was also manipulated. Children were asked both factual and experiential questions about science. The results demonstrated that children in the metaphor condition used more metaphors than children in the literal condition. Further, girls were more likely to use metaphors to communicate their knowledge of science than boys. Such a gender difference has not been found in previous metaphor production research. Finally, questions pertaining to experiential science topics were more likely to be answered metaphorically than questions pertaining to factual science topics. The project broadens our knowledge of children's understanding of science. Finally, it is the only project to examine children's expression of science metaphors. Science educators will find this information useful in developing teaching methods, understanding the way children acquire knowledge about their physical world and how children may develop misconceptions of that same physical world.