Constructing domain-specific knowledge in kindergarten: Relations among knowledge, intelligence, and strategic performance Academic Article uri icon


  • Thirty kindergarten children from two classrooms participated in a 3-week curricular unit on dinosaurs designed to teach taxonomic relations and distinguishing features aligned with 15 dinosaur species. Both domain-specific learning and strategic performance on a Twenty Questions game were assessed twice throughout the curriculum, as well as during a postcurriculum assessment involving the comparison domain of birds. Performance on all knowledge measures improved significantly across the 3 weeks, with more substantial knowledge gains for higher-aptitude children. Ninety percent of children asked strategic questions that eliminated multiple items while playing Twenty Questions: Domain-specific knowledge was related to strategic questions focused on the features or behaviors taught during the curriculum, while IQ scores were related to strategic questions that did not pertain to curricular content. Because children did not demonstrate metacognitive awareness of their strategic questioning, we suggest that the curricular content prompted implicit changes in strategy use. 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Learning and Individual Differences

author list (cited authors)

  • Alexander, J. M., Johnson, K. E., Leibham, M. E., & DeBauge, C.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Alexander, Joyce M||Johnson, Kathy E||Leibham, Mary E||DeBauge, Christiane

publication date

  • January 2005