Understanding the structure of scientific theories (e.g., the heliocentric model of the solar system, evolution by natural selection, particle theory of matter) is fundamentally a process of relational learning: mapping the spatial, temporal, and causal relations between observations and their underlying explanation. In this talk, I will discuss the challenge of relational learning and how I have developed and tested a method to support elementary students’ understanding of space science. I will also discuss some implications of these findings for learning and instruction in other STEM domains.
Dr. Florencia Anggoro is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the College of the Holy Cross. She completed her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology (with a specialization in cognitive science) from Northwestern University, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on conceptual development, particularly the role of language, culture, and formal and informal learning experiences in shaping children’s and adults’ concepts. Her research has been published in various journals including Psychological Science and Child Development, and supported by the Institute of Education Sciences. Her recent work has focused on designing and testing cognitive supports for children’s science learning.