Relational Reasoning and Science Learning
Relational reasoning (RR), the ability to consider abstract, generalizable relationships among various pieces of information, is a core component of reasoning and human cognition. In addition to evidence that indicates education hones reasoning, relational reasoning is shown to be an important predictor of academic achievement and other life outcomes. I have been working in the Bunge Lab (Building Blocks of Cognition) under the mentorship of professor Silvia Bunge for the past year. I have been quite passionate about learning more about different mechanisms of reasoning and how they play in with the current science curriculum for adolescents. We aim to investigate how education hones reasoning and if participating in a reasoning intensive science curriculum over the course a school year improve children’s reasoning skills. This summer, I will continue my work in the lab by sorting through the Amplify Science middle school curriculum and creating a comprehensive coding scheme with inter-coder reliability that measures relational reasoning intensity and prior content knowledge. With this coding guide, we will hopefully be able to better answer what in education is currently leading to improvements in reasoning.