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What makes it science? Primary teacher practices that support learning about science

Author(s): 
Dayle Anderson

The New Zealand Curriculum [NZC] identifies an understanding of science that supports informed citizenship as a major goal for the Science learning area. The Nature of Science strand, which explores how science itself works, is the overarching and compulsory strand in Science for Years 1–10. New Zealand primary schools vary in their choice of approach to science, but many employ generic inquiry approaches, most commonly aligned to information literacy processes, to address a range of learning areas, including Science. Experiences at primary level are formative for students in terms of their appreciation of science as a discipline. Key reports suggest that many New Zealand primary students’ experience of science is largely information based. This article draws on sociocultural learning theory and a multiple case study of science teaching in New Zealand upper-primary classrooms to propose that primary science educational experiences that reflect the discipline of science provide a range of opportunities for students to understand how science works, as is expected by NZC. Literature and findings from the study are used to suggest ways that primary teachers can support learning about the nature of science as part of their science programme.

Journal issue: 
Start page: 
9

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