Send to

Choose Destination
J Exp Child Psychol. 2016 Mar;143:154-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2015.10.019. Epub 2015 Nov 28.

Social science as a tool in developing scientific thinking skills in underserved, low-achieving urban students.

Author information

Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA. Electronic address:


Engagement in purposeful problem solving involving social science content was sufficient to develop a key set of inquiry skills in low-performing middle school students from an academically and economically disadvantaged urban public school population, with this skill transferring to a more traditional written scientific thinking assessment instrument 3weeks later. Students only observing their peers' activity or not participating at all failed to show these gains. Implications are addressed with regard to the mastery of scientific thinking skills among academically disadvantaged students. Also addressed are the efficacy of problem-based learning and the limits of observational learning.


Disadvantaged students; Observational learning; Problem-based learning; Scientific thinking; Social science problem content; Underserved students

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center