Kids who think logically grasp subject clearly

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2011, 10:37 AM IST

London: Children who are trained to think and act logically develop clearer understanding of a subject, says a new study.

The research project led by The University of Nottingham and The Open University has shown that school children who investigated science topics of interest to them gained an understanding of good scientific practice.

The study shows that this method of `personal inquiry` could be used to help children develop the skills needed to weigh misinformation in the media and help them make better personal decisions on issues, including diet and health.

The three-year project involved providing pupils aged 11 to 14 at Hadden Park High School in Bilborough, Nottingham, and Oakgrove School in Milton Keynes with a new computer toolkit named nQuire, now available as a free download for teachers and schools, according to a Nottingham statement.

Running on both desktop PCs and handheld notebook-style devices, the software is a
high-tech twist on the traditional lesson plan - guiding the pupils through devising and
planning scientific experiments, collecting and analysing data and discussing the

The pupils were given wide themes for their studies but were asked to decide on more specific topics that were of interest to them, including heart rate and fitness, micro climates, healthy eating, sustainability and the effect of noise pollution on birds.

Said Professor Mike Sharples, who led the project at Nottingham: "Mobile devices such as
smartphones and netbooks are sophisticated scientific instruments, with built-in cameras, voice recorders and location sensors."

"The children quickly learned how to use the nQuire toolkit to follow investigations," he added.