Berti, A. E., Toneatti, L., & Rosati, V. (2010). Children's conceptions about the origin of species: A study of Italian children's conceptions with and without instruction. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19(4), 506–538.
This study examines how early elementary school-aged children develop theories of the origin of species. It may interest ISE educators who are developing strategies for engaging their audiences with theories and processes of evolution. The article provides background on the research literature about teaching and learning of evolution. The results of this study suggest that direct instruction or interactions with Darwinian models, even at a young age, can support children's understanding of evolutionary theory, and may be as important as developmental or cultural concerns already documented in the literature.
Evans, E. M., Spiegel, A. N., Gram, W., Frazier, B. N., Tare, M., Thompson, S., et al. (2010). A conceptual guide to natural history museum visitors’ understanding of evolution. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(3), 326–353.
This study is an examination of the patterns of explanation in adult museum visitors about evolution and creationism, and the coherence of their reasoning patterns, including the persistence of intuitive childhood beliefs. The responses of all the visitors were a mix of novice naturalistic (intuitive), informed naturalistic (evolutionary), and creationist reasoning patterns. This paper can be of help to science educators to recognize different patterns of visitors’ reasoning about evolution to support the development of a more informed understanding of natural selection, the micro- and macro- processes of evolution, and the evolutionary ideas of Darwin.
Pramling, N. (2009) The role of metaphor in Darwin and the implications for teaching evolution. Science Education, 93, 535–547.
In explaining complex scientific concepts, metaphors are often used. However, the types of metaphors can have an influence on our understanding of the scientific concepts. Pramling considers the metaphors Darwin used to explain evolution and the implications of those metaphors in learning evolutionary theory. He argues that his use of particular metaphors has complicated the ways in which people understand and reason about evolution, partly because they require a complex understanding of time that is difficult to grasp.