Carnegie Mellon University
April 16, 2012

News Brief: Psychology Professor David Klahr's Work Integrating Children's Cognitive Development and Education Sciences Celebrated In New Book

Contact: Shilo Rea / 412.268.6094 /

bookCarnegie Mellon University's David Klahr, the Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor of Cognitive Development and Education Sciences, has spent his career investigating the relationship between children's cognitive development and educational practice. Klahr's influential work combines the two previously independent fields of study by joining a detailed understanding of children's reasoning and skill acquisition with the role of education in influencing and facilitating scientific explorations.

Based on a 2009 Festschrift, Klahr's pioneering efforts are celebrated in a new book, "The Journey From Child To Scientist: Integrating Cognitive Development and the Education Sciences." Published by the American Psychological Association, the volume provides a blueprint for improving STEM education.

Edited by CMU's Sharon Carver and CMU alumnus and Stanford Associate Professor Jeff Shrager, the book contains diverse accounts of practical uses and examinations of Klahr's research. Carver also wrote the introduction, "A Life's Journey from Child to Scientist." Robert Siegler, CMU's Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, authored the first chapter, "From Theory To Application and Back: Following in the Giant Footsteps of David Klahr."

Additional topics include the evolution of "folk science," the mechanisms that underlie mathematical understanding, and mental models used by children in classroom activities.

"Throughout David Klahr's career, he has been a generous and gracious mentor, colleague, and friend to many," said Carver, teaching professor of psychology and director of CMU's Children's School. "Dr. Shrager and I hope to continue David's legacy by extending such support to those within our spheres of influence. By publishing this festschrift volume, we invite a broader range of scholars interested in cognitive development and education sciences to benefit from David's own contributions and those he inspired, as well as to engage their best efforts in our shared endeavor of understanding the journey from child to scientist."

"It's hard to imagine a more meaningful and satisfying professional -- and personal -- reward for an academic researcher than to have one's former students and colleagues compile this kind of tribute to one's work," Klahr said. "I am very grateful to the editors and contributors for their efforts on behalf of this project."

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