e-mail: evansem [at] umich.edu
Children's causal intuitions impact their understanding of the major domains of inquiry, from science to religion, they encounter in and out of school. How such intuitions are transformed over the elementary school years and into adulthood is the focus of my research. I have examined this sort of conceptual change in terms of a) the emergence of intuitive causal explanations or theories, and b) the influence of diverse contexts, such as: culture (Asian, Western), belief system (e.g., religious belief), and informal learning contexts (e.g., museums). This analysis of changes in children's and adults' concepts provides a foundation for understanding the nature of successful learning experiences, at home and in the wild.
Evolution and Health (Learning Researcher and consultant) for traveling exhibition to assess whether making evolutionary concepts personally relevant increases acceptance of evolution (includes one year formative test site at the University of Michigan). Currently on display at the New York Hall of Science
Charlie and Kiwi's Evolutionary Adventure (Learning Research UM-PI) Co-developer traveling exhibition to test whether informal science interventions prepare children to accept the scientific basis of evolution by targeting their intuitive concepts. Associated book: Charlie and Kiwi's Evolutionary Adventure. Currently on display at the New York Hall of Science (traveled to 10 museums across the US)
Explore Evolution (Learning researcher and consultant) Creation of seven evolution components (from the Diatom to the Whale) on permanent display in six Midwest museums (including the UM Museum of Natural History) and an associated book.
Charlie and Kiwi: An Evolutionary Adventure (2011)