Understanding the nature of science (NoS) is perplexing for young children because it is concerned with not only understanding how evidence is generated but also what kind of meanings can be made from information collected. However, acting as a scientist-in-role, making independent decisions about what information to collect and deciding how to go about it, can enable students to experience scientific practices that empower them to better appreciate and understand the NOS. This paper illustrates how drama processes, in two international settings in Wellington, New Zealand and Oxford, United Kingdom encouraged nine to ten year old children to engage in the scientific ‘as-if’ world. The data collected from these two locations was analysed deductively to illustrate how working-in-role can influence the nature of learning and shape the scientific practices experienced that consequently inform how the NoS is understood. The children in Wellington (New Zealand) worked in-role as atmospheric scientists to design a reduced-emissions race track. The class in Oxford (UK) adopted the role of technological scientists theorising about properties of materials to create and test original carriers designed to transport a range of everyday objects. How drama promoted working-in-role to experience scientific practices supporting the understanding of the NoS, are discussed. The findings suggest that being in-role as a scientist offered learners various opportunities to be agentive, to think and act scientifically, better appreciate the nature of work that scientists do and consequently appreciate the NoS.
McGregor, DebBaskerville, D.Anderson, D.Duggan, Adrienne
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\School of Education
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