Kathleen E. Metz

Kathleen E. Metz is interested in young children's scientific cognition, from both developmental and instructional viewpoints. She was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow in Cognitive Science at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of Barbel Inhelder's research team at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She recently completed an NSF-sponsored project investigating the power and limitations of elementary school children's scientific inquiry. Building on this work, she and her research team are now engaged in a new NSF-funded project, investigating the extent to which second and third graders can develop an understanding of the conceptual underpinnings of evolution.


Articles (Refereed Journals, Proceeding)
Metz, K. E. (in press). Disentangling robust developmental constraints from the instructionally mutable: Young children's reasoning about a study of their own design. Journal of the Learning Sciences.
Metz, K. E., Sisk-Hilton, S., Berson, E., & Ly, U. (2010). Scaffolding children's understanding of the fit between organisms and their environment in the context of the practices of science. Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences.
Metz, K E. (2008). Rethinking what is "developmentally appropriate" from a learning progression perspective: The power and the challenge.À Review of Science, Mathematics and ICT Education.
Metz, K. E. (2008). Elementary School Teachers As "Targets And Agents Of Change": Teachers' Learning In Interaction With Reform Science Curriculum. Science Education.
Metz, K. E. (2008). Narrowing the gulf between the practices of science and the elementary school classroom. Elementary School Journal. 109 (2) 138-161.
Metz, K.E. (2007). Ann Brown's legacy: The synergistic advancement of cognitive developmental, learning and instructional theories. In J. C. Campione, K E. Metz, & A.S. Palincsar, [Eds.] Children's learning in laboratory and classroom contexts: Essays in honor of Ann Brown. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Metz, K.E. (2004). Knowledge-building enterprises in science and elementary school classrooms: Analysis of problematic differences and strategic leverage points. In L.B. Flick & N.G. Lederman [Eds.] Scientific inquiry and the nature of science: Implications for teaching, learning, and teacher education. Dortrect The Netherlands: Kluwe Publishers.
Metz, K. E. (2004). Children's understanding of scientific inquiry: Their conceptualization of uncertainty in investigations of their own design. Cognition and Instruction (22) 2, 219-291.
Metz, K.E. (2000). Young children's inquiry in biology: Building the knowledge bases to empower independent inquiry. In J. Minstrell & E. van Zee (Eds.) Inquiring into inquiry in science learning and teaching. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science. pp. 371-404
Metz, K. E. (1998) Emergent understanding and attribution of randomness: Comparative analysis of the reasoning of primary grade children and undergraduates. Cognition and Instruction, 16 (3), 285-365.
Metz, K.E. (1998). Scientific inquiry within reach of young children. In B. J. Frazer & K. Tobin [Eds.] International Handbook in Science Education. Netherlands: Kluwer Publishers.
Brown, A., Campione, J., Metz, K.E., & Ash, D. (1997). The development of science learning abilities in children. In A. Burgen & K. Harnquist [Eds.] Growing up with science: Developing early understanding of science. Goteborg, Sweden: Academia Europaea. pp. 7-40.
Metz, K.E. (1997). On the complex relation between cognitive developmental research and children's science curricula. Review of Educational Research. 67 (1), 151-163. [Reprinted in Smith, P.K. & Pellegrini, A. (2000). Major writings in the Psychology of Education. Vol. 111: The school curriculum. London: Routledge]
Brown, A., Metz, K.E., & Campione, J. (1996). Social interaction and individual understanding in a community of learners: The influence of Piaget and Vygotsky. In J. Voneche [Ed.] The social genesis of thought: Piaget / Vygotsky. Published simultaneously in Cahiers de la Fondation Archives Jean Piaget: Geneva, Switzerland (in French) and Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Metz, K.E. (1995). Reassessment of developmental constraints on children's science instruction. Review of Educational Research. 65 (2), 93-127.
Metz, K.E. (1993). Preschoolers' developing knowledge of the pan balance: From new representation to transformed problem solving. Cognition and Instruction. 11 (1), 31-93.

Interests and Professional Affiliations

Cognitive Development

Curriculum Development

Development of Professional Learning Communities


Reform Issues

Science Education

Teacher Development


BS, Earlham College: Psychology

MS, University of Pennsylvania: Education

EdD, University of Massachusetts; Human Development,Teacher Education

Postdoctoral study: Carnegie Mellon: Cognitive Science

Postdoctoral study: University of Geneva (Switzerland): Cognitive Development