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Problems in defining and eliciting "scientific" processes using practical tasks with primary school children.

Lopez y Mota, Angel Daniel. (1991) Problems in defining and eliciting "scientific" processes using practical tasks with primary school children. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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The inclusion of science in the primary school curriculum makes it necessary to have plausible scientific activities that fulfil certain educational objectives. The purpose of this study is to show to what extent it is possible to combine such criteria. Tasks have been constructed, each in two versions - Structured and Investigation plus Goal - in each four topic domains. Levels of success are given for both versions of the tasks, both overall and in relation to their cognitive demands. The tasks are constructed so as to elicit, as far as possible, a number of 'scientific processes'. This notion is not, however, taken for granted. The study looks at processes in the context of the tasks; at when it makes sense to label processes as such or when they are better considered as content bound, and at the nature of what in fact has been elicited from children. It has been possible to answer some questions related to children's 'scientific' behaviour such as, How complete are children's investigations?, Do children notice relevant phenomena? Do they draw conclusions from what they noticed? How well do children identify and control variables?, How good are children at using 'what-if reasoning', What explanations of the phenomena do children give? and, Do children make notes when doing an investigation? The framework of the study describes and compares two models of defining and eliciting 'scientific' processes, leading to the organization of the literature review in terms of: problems of transfer from the nature of science, problems of defining and matching, and problems of eliciting and discriminating. The conclusions are organized around three main areas of concern: 1) the tasks, 2) the processes, and 3) children's behaviour. The first comments on the tasks as potentially pedagogic and diagnostic devices. The second considers the problems of defining and eliciting 'scientific' processes. The last recapitulates the findings on children's behaviour, emphasizing some of their commonsense features.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: Science education,Middle years education,Heuristic method,Practical studies,Learning style,Reasoning,Procedural knowledge
Subjects: Departments > Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Welshman
Date Deposited: 20 May 2014 08:43
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2015 11:26
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