The development of scientific thinking skills in elementary and middle school

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411 Citations (Scopus)


The goal of this article is to provide an integrative review of research that has been conducted on the development of children's scientific reasoning. Broadly defined, scientific thinking includes the skills involved in inquiry, experimentation, evidence evaluation, and inference that are done in the service of conceptual change or scientific understanding. Therefore, the focus is on the thinking and reasoning skills that support the formation and modification of concepts and theories about the natural and social world. Recent trends include a focus on definitional, methodological and conceptual issues regarding what is normative and authentic in the context of the science lab and the science classroom, an increased focus on metacognitive and metastrategic skills, and explorations of different types of instructional and practice opportunities that are required for the development, consolidation and subsequent transfer of such skills. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-223
Number of pages52
JournalDevelopmental Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive development
  • Evidence evaluation
  • Experimentation
  • Inquiry
  • Investigation
  • Scientific reasoning
  • Scientific thinking


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