How the Elderly Can Use Scientific Knowledge to Solve Problems While Designing Toys: A Retrospective Analysis of the Design of a Working UFO

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The venerable aphorism "an old dog cannot learn new tricks" implies that the elderly rarely learn anything new-in particular, scientific knowledge. On the basis of "learning by doing," the present study emphasized knowledge application (KA) as elderly subjects collaborated on the design of a toy flying saucer (UFO). Three types of KA were identified by questioning the work: Type 1-knowing neither how nor why; Type 2-knowing how, but not why; and, Type 3-knowing how and why. The results indicated that female elderly subjects more often exhibited Type 1 of KA compared with male elderly. The evidence supported a KA of Type 3 for those who had a science background, as they performed better than those without a science background. However, even those without a science background were able to produce science toys if they worked cooperatively, particularly when they could learn from others who had a science background.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-397
Number of pages12
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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