Do Indonesian Children’s Experiences with Large Currency Units Facilitate Magnitude Estimation of Long Temporal Periods?
Ideas about temporal (and spatial) scale impact students’ understanding across science disciplines. Learners have difficulty comprehending the long time periods associated with natural processes because they have no referent for the magnitudes involved. When people have a good “feel” for quantity, they estimate cardinal number magnitude linearly. Magnitude estimation errors can be explained by confusion about the structure of the decimal number system, particularly in terms of how powers of ten are related to one another. Indonesian children regularly use large currency units. This study investigated if they estimate long time periods accurately and if they estimate those time periods the same way they estimate analogous currency units. Thirty-nine children from a private International Baccalaureate school estimated temporal magnitudes up to 10,000,000,000 years in a two-part study. Artifacts children created were compared to theoretical model predictions previously used in number magnitude estimation studies as reported by Landy et al. (Cognitive Science 37:775–799, 2013). Over one third estimated the magnitude of time periods up to 10,000,000,000 years linearly, exceeding what would be expected based upon prior research with children this age who lack daily experience with large quantities. About half treated successive powers of ten as a count sequence instead of multiplicatively related when estimating magnitudes of time periods. Children generally estimated the magnitudes of long time periods and familiar, analogous currency units the same way. Implications for ways to improve the teaching and learning of this crosscutting concept/overarching idea are discussed.
Research in Science Education
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Cheek. (2016). Do Indonesian Children’s Experiences with Large Currency Units Facilitate Magnitude Estimation of Long Temporal Periods? Research in Science Education (Australasian Science Education Research Association), 47(4), 889–911. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-016-9532-z