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Table of Contents

Contents Page Synopsis ii

Objectives ii User guide to the module iii Syllabus Content And Delivery Mode iv

Unit 1 What is Science ?

Unit 2 How Children Learn Science Brain-Based Learning

Unit 3 Learning Theories For Primary Science

Piaget‟s Cognitive Developmental Theory

Bruner‟s Inductive Learning Theory Behaviorist Learning Theory

Ausubel‟s Deductive Learning Theory Gagne‟s Learning Theory

Information-Processing Theory- Atkins & Shiffrin; Baddeley‟s Constructivist Approaches

What do children need to help them learn through constructivism

Unit 4 Misconception Understanding children‟s ideas in science Assessing children‟s ideas and misconceptions in science Dealing with children‟s misconceptions and conceptual change Topic and Time Allocation Topic/Subtopic - Note/Activitiy/Excercise


Panel of writers

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This course provides knowledge about how children perceive science, the nature of

science and how children learn science. It explores the role brain development and

processing have in learning as well as the effects of developmental theory of Piaget

and other learning theories such as Bruner, Behaviourist, Ausubel and Gagne on the

learning of science. In addition, this course also explores how we can help children

learn science more effectively by considering children‟s prior ideas on science and

nurturing their connection-making through constructivist principles of learning.

Dealing with children‟s misconceptions in science and helping them in conceptual

change will also be explored by using the five themes in the primary school science

curriculum as examples.

Kursus ini memberi pengetahuan tentang bagaimana kanak-kanak mengamati sains,

bentuk sains dan bagaimana kanak-kanak mempelajari sains. Ia meneroki peranan

perkembangan dan pemerosesan otak dalam pembelajaran dan juga kesan teori

perkembangan Piaget dan teori pembelajaran seperti Bruner, Behavoris, Ausubel

dan Gagne ke atas pembelajaran sains. Di samping itu, kursus ini juga akan

meneroki bagaimana kita boleh membantu kanak-kanak pelajari sains dengan lebih

berkesan dengan mengambil kira ide sedia ada kanak-kanak tentang sains dan

memupuk pembinaan perkaitan ini melalui prinsip pembelajaran konstruktivist.

Menghadapi miskonsepsi kanak-kanak dan membantu mereka ke perubahan

konseptual juga diteroki dengan menggunakan sebagai contoh lima tema dalam

kurikulum sains sekolah rendah.


1. Explain how children view science and what is the nature of science.

2. Demonstrate a knowledge of basic concepts of children‟s

ideas in science, where do they come from and how they influence learning in


3. Describe how developmental and learning theories have contributed to children‟s

learning in science.

4. Demonstrate a knowledge of constructivist approach to learning.

5. Identify children‟s misconceptions in science.

6. Create stimulating constructivist learning in science to help children deal with

their misconceptions.

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This learning module has been prepared to guide you in your studies and can be used as a reference material. The module uses a learning method that is based upon the Self-Managed Learning concept. The Self-Managed Learning concept brings along with it the implication that you are responsible for your studies. This means that you are responsible to manage your time, arrange your place of study and adapt the time for study in accordance with your other responsibilities.

This concept gives you the freedom to study at your leisure and at your pace.


Your commitment and dedication in handling your self-learning responsibilities will bring success in your studies. Besides studying the materials in this module on your own, you are encouraged to look for further materials and seek guidance from other sources to complement this module or to obtain further understanding of the study materials.


This module has been prepared to fulfill the requirements and the specifications of the training curriculum. Each module consists of several units of study, which is further divided into sub-topics that cover all the curriculum specifications. At the end of each unit of study there is formative evaluation consisting of questions and assignments.

You are required to prepare the answers to the questions, which will be

discussed in sessions with your lecturer or colleagues.

You are also required to complete the assignments on your own effort based on the instructions given. You are reminded that these assignments have to be handed in to the lecturer or supervisor when you attend lectures / interactions at the college.

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Topic Content Hours

1 What is science?

How children perceive science

The nature of science

- scientific knowledge/content

- science as a process

- science attitude and noble values


2 How children learn science

The brain’s unique structure and the function it plays

in learning

Brain-based learning


3 Understanding Children’s Development

Piaget Developmental Theory

Implication for teaching primary science


4 Bruner’s Learning Theory

Inductive learning

Concept Learning

Implication for teaching primary science


5 Behaviorist Learning Theory




Observational learning

Implication for teaching primary science


6 Ausubel’s Learning Theory

Deductive/expository learning

Verbal learning using advance organizers

Implication for teaching primary science


7 Gagne’s Learning Theory

Mastery learning

Hierarchical learning

Implication for teaching primary science


8 Information-Processing Theory- Atkins & Shiffrin;


Short term memory

Long term memory

Implication for teaching primary science


9 Constructivism as the dominant contemporary perspective on

science learning


Characteristics of constructivist teaching

Constructivist teaching roles


10 The constructivist approaches

Needham’s model

Generative model (Osborne)

Interactive model (Faire and Cosgrove)


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11 What do children need to help them learn through



Physical activity






12 Understanding children’s ideas in science

Children’s prior ideas

Children’s misconceptions in science

How do children’s ideas influence learning


13 Assessing children’s ideas and misconceptions in science






14 Dealing with children’s misconceptions and conceptual


Themes from the primary school science curriculum

- Learning about living things

- Learning about the world around us


15 Dealing with children’s misconceptions and conceptual


Themes from the primary school science curriculum

- Material world

- Earth and the universe

- The world of technology


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UNIT 1.0 What is Science ?

Science is a broad-based human enterprise that is defined differently depending on

the individuals who view it. The layperson might define science as a body of scientific

information; the scientist might view it as of procedures by which hypotheses are

tested; a philosopher might regards science as a way of questioning the truthfulness

of what we know. All of these views are valid, but each presents just partial definition

of science; only collectively do they begin to define the comprehensive nature of

science. Science is an enterprise that has changed over the centuries. Further, it

encompasses many fields, such as physics, chemistry, biology, and the geosciences,

which sometimes employ different approaches to the study of reality. Let‟s examine

what scientists attempt to do in their work to assist in arriving at a definition is implied

in the following statement by Edward Teller (1991), an eminent nuclear physicist:

A scientist has three responsibilities: one is to understand; two is to explain that understanding. A scientist should have no other limitations. A scientist isn’t responsible for that which he has discovered. Scientific Knowledge According to Chiappetta et.al (1998), science can be thought of as the study of nature in an attempt to understand it and to create new knowledge that provides predictive power and application. Scientists strive to understand the phenomena that make up the universe-from the pulsating beats of our hearts to the migration of birds to the explosion of stars. Their aim is to describe the internal and the external structure of objects, the mechanism of forces, and the occurrence of events. They will use these understanding in predicting future events with great precision. Scientific Method There is no timeless and universal conception of science or scientific methods that can distinguish science from other forms of knowledge. However scientists who were involved in exploring the knowledge were introduced to scientific method in the sixteenth century in order to describe these aspects: identifying the problems, making hypothesis, predicting, experimenting, and constructing the theory on a particular event. What is Scientific Knowledge Nowadays? Science includes three main components: process, product, and attitudes. Actually science is a set of attitudes and a way of thinking on fact. (B.F Skinner). Science also is perceived as an inquiry process, observation, and reasoning about the natural world. (K.T.Compton). Scientist always carry-out an experiment and make an observation upon objects, actions, and the change of nature.

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Science Main Component Science as a Process

Learning science information is more important than to memorize the content of science

Scientific skill is a basic tool in understanding science

Process is emphasis on how the knowledge is gained.

Using the empirical procedures and analyzing to describe the natural world

It involves hands-on and mind-on experience

It involves the formation of hypothesis, planning, experimenting, collecting data, and analyzing before making a conclusion.

Science as a Product

Scientific idea/ a new discovery is a form of experimenting outcomes.

Scientific product is based on the data and it depends on the theory and the concept involved

Information and idea are called a product. Through investigating the product, scientists come up with a conclusion, concept, generalization, fact, law, principle, and theory.

A Fact is often thought of as truth and the state of things. Facts represent what we can perceive through our senses and they are usually regarded as reliable data. Often two criteria are used to identify a scientific fact: (1) it is directly observable and (2) it can be demonstrated at any time. A concept is an abstraction of events, objects, or phenomena that seem to have certain properties or attributes in common. Fish, for example, possess certain characteristics that set them apart from reptiles and mammals. According to Bruner, (1956), a concept has five important elements: (1) name, (2) definition, (3) attributes, (4) values, and (5) examples. Principles and Laws are also fall into the general category of a concept but in a broad manner. These higher order ideas are used to describe what exists through empirical basis. For example gas law and the law of motion.


Laws and




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Theory. Science goes beyond the classification and description of phenomena to the level of explanation. Scientist use theories to explain patterns and forces that are hidden from direct observation. The theory of atom, which states that all matter is made up of tiny particles called atoms, many millions of which would required to cover the period at the end of this sentence. This is the example of hidden observation. Science as an Attitude Science learning experiences can be used as a means to inculcate scientific attitudes and noble values in students. These attitudes and values encompass the following:

Having an interest and curiosity towards the environment.

Being honest and accurate in recording and validating data

Being diligent and persevering

Being responsible about the safety of oneself, others, and the environment.

Realising that science is a mean to understand nature

Appreciating and practicing clean and healthy living

Appreciating the balance of nature

Being respectful and well-mannered

Appreciating the contribution of science and technology

Being thankful to God

Having analytical and critical thinking

Being flexible and open-minded

Being kind-hearted and caring

Being objective

Being systematic

Being cooperative

Being fait and just

Daring to try

Thinking rationally

Being confident and independent. The inculcation of scientific attitudes and noble values generally occurs through the following steps:

Being aware of the importance and the need for scientific attitudes and noble values.

Giving emphasis to these attitudes and values.

Practising and internalizing these scientific attitudes and noble values. When planning teaching and learning activities, teachers need to give due consideration to the above stages to ensure the continuous and effective inculcation of scientific attitudes and values. For example, during science practical work, the teacher should remind pupils and ensure that they carry out experiments in careful, cooperative and honest manner. Proper planning is required for effective inculcation of scientific attitudes and noble values during science lessons. Before the first lesson related to a learning objective, teachers should examine all related learning outcomes and suggested teaching-learning activities that provide opportunities for the inculcation of scientific attitudes and noble values. (Refer to lesson plan in Learning Strategies Topic)

Give your opinion on these: a) Physics is an interesting area of study.

I like more than any other subject I am taking. State why you agree and disagree with this statement.

b) “Chemistry is boring and useless to me”. Do you agree or disagree?

c) State why you like or dislike performing an experiment in the physics laboratory?

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Stop and reflect! Give some of the beneficial uses of technology and also the potential dangers about it?

Thinking Skills Thinking skills can be categorized into critical thinking skills and creative thinking skills. A person who thinks critically always evaluates an idea in a systematic manner before accepting it. A person who thinks creatively has a high level of imagination, is able to generate original and innovative ideas, and modify ideas and products.(For detail refer to unit 3) Scientist Code of Ethic Scientists make public their understanding through carefully prepared papers. Often their manuscript are presented at professional meetings and published in professional journals. In both instances, especially the latter, colleagues who make critical comments carefully review the work and suggestions also can be tested by additional observation and experimentations. Further, the work is open to scrutiny by colleagues in order to determine if ethical principles have been violated such as presenting erroneous data or taking credit for discoveries that others have claimed. Science, Technology, and Society Just as science is not easy to define, neither is technology. The differences between science and technology are not clear-cut; science and technology are inherently intertwined. In general, science can be regarded as the enterprise that seeks to understand natural phenomena and to arrange these ideas into ordered knowledge, whereas technology involves the design of products and systems that affect the quality of life, using the knowledge of science where necessary. Technology on the other hand, is an applied enterprise concerned with developing, constructing, and applying ideas. Science is intimately related to technology and society. For instance, sciences produce knowledge that results in useful applications through devices and systems. We have evidence of this all around us, from microwave ovens to compact disc players to computers. Just as scientific knowledge impacts society, society impacts science. Most scientific work is funded through government grants and private business. The money is generally targeted for projects that study important societal problems, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and weapon systems. Today‟s research is carried out by team of scientists working cooperatively to solve societal problems.

Outline a safety program that you would institute if you were the chairperson of a science department in your institution.

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EXERCISE Task 1 Malaysian government was taking steps in order to bring them in applying the technology for global competence. Could you list down the examples of steps concerned and give further explanation. Task 2 List down the scientific processes that involved in investigating. What are the effects if the scientific processes are ignored? Task 3 By referring to your syllabus give an examples of facts, concepts, principles and laws, and theories on some selected topics. Task 4 By using the graphic organizer, compare and contrast between science and technology

Science encompasses many diverse ideas and has evolved over many thousands of years. Further, various aspects of science are viewed differently by scientists, philosophers, and historians. As science educators what is your view of the knowledge of science?

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UNIT 2 : How Children Learn Science

2.1 The brain‟s unique structure and the function it plays in learning

Brain Structures and their Functions

Cerebrum Cerebellum Limbic System Brain Stem

The nervous system is your body's decision and communication center. The central nervous system (CNS) is made of the brain and the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is made of nerves. Together they control every part of your daily life, from breathing and blinking to helping you memorize facts for a test. Nerves reach from your brain to your face, ears, eyes, nose, and spinal cord... and from the spinal cord to the rest of your body. Sensory nerves gather information from the environment, send that info to the spinal cord, which then speed the message to the brain. The brain then makes sense of that message and fires off a response. Motor neurons deliver the instructions from the brain to the rest of your body. The spinal cord, made of a bundle of nerves running up and down the spine, is similar to a superhighway, speeding messages to and from the brain at every second.

The brain is made of three main parts: the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The forebrain consists of the cerebrum, thalamus, and hypothalamus (part of the limbic system). The midbrain consists of the tectum and tegmentum. The hindbrain is made of the cerebellum, pons and medulla. Often the midbrain, pons, and medulla are referred to together as the brainstem.

The Cerebrum: The cerebrum or cortex is the largest part of the human brain, associated with higher brain function such as thought and action. The cerebral cortex is divided into four sections, called "lobes": the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe. Here is a visual representation of the cortex:

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What do each of these lobes do?

Frontal Lobe- associated with reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving

Parietal Lobe- associated with movement, orientation, recognition, perception of stimuli

Occipital Lobe- associated with visual processing Temporal Lobe- associated with perception and recognition of auditory

stimuli, memory, and speech

Note that the cerebral cortex is highly wrinkled. Essentially this makes the brain more efficient, because it can increase the surface area of the brain and the amount of neurons within it. We will discuss the relevance of the degree of cortical folding (or gyrencephalization) later.

A deep furrow divides the cerebrum into two halves, known as the left and right hemispheres. The two hemispheres look mostly symmetrical yet it has been shown that each side functions slightly different than the other. Sometimes the right hemisphere is associated with creativity and the left hemispheres is associated with logic abilities. The corpus callosum is a bundle of axons which connects these two hemispheres.

Nerve cells make up the gray surface of the cerebrum which is a little thicker than your thumb. White nerve fibers underneath carry signals between the nerve cells and other parts of the brain and body.

The neocortex occupies the bulk of the cerebrum. This is a six-layered structure of the cerebral cortex which is only found in mammals. It is thought that the neocortex is a recently evolved structure, and is associated with "higher" information processing by more fully evolved animals (such as humans, primates, dolphins, etc).

The Cerebellum: The cerebellum, or "little brain", is similar to the cerebrum in that it has two hemispheres and has a highly folded surface or cortex. This structure is associated with regulation and coordination of movement, posture, and balance.

The cerebellum is assumed to be much older than the cerebrum, evolutionarily. What do I mean by this? In other words, animals which scientists assume to have evolved prior to humans, for example reptiles, do have developed cerebellums. However, reptiles do not have neocortex.

Limbic System: The limbic system, often referred to as the "emotional brain", is found buried within the cerebrum. Like the cerebellum, evolutionarily the structure is rather old.

This system contains the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. Here is a visual representation of this system, from a midsagittal view of the human brain:

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Brain Stem: Underneath the limbic system is the brain stem. This structure is responsible for basic vital life functions such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure. Scientists say that this is the "simplest" part of human brains because animals' entire brains, such as reptiles (who appear early on the evolutionary scale) resemble our brain stem.

Brain-based Learning

2.2 Definition

This learning theory is based on the structure and function of the brain. As long as the brain is not prohibited from fulfilling its normal processes, learning will occur.

2.2.1 Discussion

People often say that everyone can learn. Yet the reality is that everyone does learn. Every person is born with a brain that functions as an immensely powerful processor. Traditional schooling, however, often inhibits learning by discouraging, ignoring, or punishing the brain‟s natural learning processes.

The core principles of brain-based learning state that:

1. The brain is a parallel processor, meaning it can perform several activities at once, like tasting and smelling.

2. Learning engages the whole physiology. 3. The search for meaning is innate. 4. The search for meaning comes through patterning. 5. Emotions are critical to patterning. 6. The brain processes wholes and parts simultaneously. 7. Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception. 8. Learning involves both conscious and unconscious processes. 9. We have two types of memory: spatial and rote. 10. We understand best when facts are embedded in natural, spatial memory. 11. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat. 12. Each brain is unique.

The three instructional techniques associated with brain-based learning are:

1. Orchestrated immersion–Creating learning environments that fully immerse students in an educational experience

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2. Relaxed alertness–Trying to eliminate fear in learners, while maintaining a highly challenging environment

3. Active processing–Allowing the learner to consolidate and internalize information by actively processing it

2.2.3 How Brain-Based Learning Impacts Education

Curriculum–Teachers must design learning around student interests and make learning contextual.

Instruction–Educators let students learn in teams and use peripheral learning. Teachers structure learning around real problems, encouraging students to also learn in settings outside the classroom and the school building.

Assessment–Since all students are learning, their assessment should allow them to understand their own learning styles and preferences. This way, students monitor and enhance their own learning process.

2.2.4 What Brain-Based Learning Suggests

How the brain works has a significant impact on what kinds of learning activities are most effective. Educators need to help students have appropriate experiences and capitalize on those experiences. As Renate Caine illustrates on p. 113 of her book Making Connections, three interactive elements are essential to this process:

Teachers must immerse learners in complex, interactive experiences that are both rich and real. One excellent example is immersing students in a foreign culture to teach them a second language. Educators must take advantage of the brain‟s ability to parallel process.

Students must have a personally meaningful challenge. Such challenges stimulate a student‟s mind to the desired state of alertness.

In order for a student to gain insight about a problem, there must be intensive analysis of the different ways to approach it, and about learning in general. This is what‟s known as the “active processing of experience.”

A few other tenets of brain-based learning include:

Feedback is best when it comes from reality, rather than from an authority figure.

People learn best when solving realistic problems.

The big picture can‟t be separated from the details.

Because every brain is different, educators should allow learners to customize their own environments.

The best problem solvers are those that laugh!

Designers of educational tools must be artistic in their creation of brain-friendly environments. Instructors need to realize that the best way to learn is not through lecture, but by participation in realistic environments that let learners try new things safely.

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UNIT 3 : Learning Theories For Primary Science 3.1 Objectives:

1. To describe the stages of cognitive development of a child .

2. To relate cognitive development stages of students with classroom

science teaching.

Piaget’s Theory : Cognitive development Cognitive theorists believe that what you learn depends on your mental process and

what you perceive about the world around you. In other words, learning depends on

how you think and how your perceptions and thought patterns interact.

According to cognitive learning theorists, a teacher should try to understand what a

child perceives and how a child thinks and then plan experiences that will capitalize

on these. Jean Piaget propose that children progress through stages of cognitive


Stages of Piaget‟s Theories are 1. Sensorimotor knowledge ( 0 to 2 year )

Objects and people exist only if child can see, feel, hear, touch or taste their

presence. Anything outside of the child‟s perceptual field does not exist.

2. Preoperational (Representational) knowledge ( 2 to 7 years )

The ability to use symbols begins. Although the child is still focused on the “there

and now” early in this stage, the child can use language to refer to objects and

events that are not in his or her perceptual field.

The child has difficulty understanding that objects have multiple properties. He or

she is not completely aware that a block of wood has color, weight, height and

depth all at once. The child does not “conserves” attributes such as mass, weight,

or number.

3. Concrete Operation ( 7 to 11 years )

The child can group objects into classes and arrange the objects in a class into

some appropriate order. The child understands the mass, weight, volume, area

and length are conserved. The child has some difficulty isolating the variables in

a situation and determining their relationships. The concepts of space and time

become clearer.

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4. Formal Operation ( 12 years through adulthood )

The child is able to think in abstract terms, is able to isolate the variables in a

situation , and is able to understand their relationship to one another. The child‟s

ability to solve complex verbal and mathematical problems emerges as a

consequence of being able to manipulate the meanings represented by symbols.

Practical applications: Piaget’s Ideas for Science Classroom

1. Infants in the sensorimotor stage ( 0 to 2 years )


Provide stimulating environment that includes eye-catching displays,

pleasant sound, human voices, and plenty of tender loving care so

that the infant becomes motivated to interact with the people and

things in his or her perceptual field.

Provide stuffed animals and other safe, pliable objects that the child

can manipulate in order to acquire the psychomotor skills necessary

for future cognitive development.

2. Preschoolers and children in the primary grades ( 2 to 7 years )


Provide natural objects such as leaves, stones, twigs, etc for the child to


Towards the end of this stage, provide opportunities for the child to begin

grouping things into classes that is living/nonliving , animal/plant.

Toward the end of this stage, provide experience that gives children an

opportunity to transcend some of their egocentricism. For example, have

them listen to other children‟s stories about what was observed on a trip to

the zoo.

3. Children in the elementary grades ( 7 to 11 years )


Early in this stage, offer children many experience to use them acquired

abilities with respect to the observation, classification and arrangement of

objects according to some property. Any science activities that should

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include the observation, collection, and sorting of objects should be able to

be done in some ease.

As this stage continues you should be able to introduce successfully many

physical science activities that include more abstract concepts such as

space, time and number. For example, children could measure the length,

width, height and weight of objects or count the number of swings of a

pendulum in a given time.

4. The middle school child and beyond ( 12 years through adulthood )


Emphasize the general concepts and laws that govern observed

phenomenon. Possible projects and activities include the prediction of the

characteristics of an object‟s motion based on Newton‟s Laws, the making of

generalizations about the outcomes of a potential imbalance among the

producers, consumers, and decomposers in a natural community.

Encourage children to make hypotheses about the outcomes of experiments

in absence of actively doing them. A key part of the process of doing

activities might appropriately be “pre-lab” sessions in which the child writes

down hypotheses about outcomes.

Activity 1:

Describe three science learning activities suitable for upper secondary students

based on Piaget‟s learning theories.

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Activity 2 : Give three reasons according to Piaget‟s theory why teaching and learning aids

are important to ensure effective learning.

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3.2 : Bruner’s Theory: Discovery learning Jerome Bruner‟s research revealed that teachers need to provide children with

experiences to help them discover underlying ideas, concepts, or patterns. Bruner is

proponent of inductive thinking that is going from the specific to the general.

Using idea from one experience and use it in another situation is also an inductive


The inductive approach provides students with learning situation in which

they can discover a concept or principle. With this approach, the attributes and

instances of an idea are encountered first by the learners, followed by the naming

and discussing the idea. This empirical-inductive approach give students a concrete

experience whereby they obtain sensory impression and data from real objects and


Inductive approach to Instruction

Practical applications: Bruner’s Ideas for Science Classroom

1. Emphasize the basic structure of new material


Use demonstrations that reveal basic principles. For example

demonstrate the law of magnetism by using similar and opposite poles of

a set of bar magnets.

Encourage children to make outlines of basic points made in textbooks or

discovered in activities.

Experiences with instances of a concept or principle

Discovering and forming a concept or principle

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2. Present many examples and concept.


When presenting an explanation of the phases of the moon, have the

children observe the phases in a variety of ways, such as direct

observation of the changing shape of the moon in the evening s

demonstration of the changes using a flashlight and sphere, and


Using magazine pictures to show the stages in a space shuttle mission,

have the class make models that show the stages and list the stages on

the chalkboard.

3. Help children construct coding system.


Invent a game that requires children to classify rocks.

Have children maintain scrapbooks in which they keep collected leaf

specimens that are grouped according to observed characteristics.

4. Apply new learning to many different situations and kinds of



Learn how scientist estimate the size of populations by having children

count the number in a sample and estimate the numbers of grasshoppers

in a lawn and in a meadow.

5. Pose a problem to the children and let them find the answer.


Ask questions that will lead naturally to activities-why should wear

seatbelts? And What are some ingredients that most junk foods have ?

Do a demonstration that raises a question in the children‟s minds. For

example, levitate a washer using magnet or mix two colored solutions to

produce a third color.

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6. Encourage children to make intuitive guesses.


Ask the children to guess the amount of water that goes down the drain

each time a child gets a drink of water from a water fountain.

Give the children magazine photographs of the evening sky and have

them guess the locations of some constellations.

3.3 : Behaviorist Learning Theories

Behavorism as a theory was most developed by B. F. Skinner. It loosely includes the

work of such people as Thorndike, Tolman, Guthrie, and Hull. What characterizes

these investigators is their underlying assumptions about the process of learning. In

essence, three basic assumptions are held to be true. First, learning is manifested by

a change in behavior. Second, the environment shapes behavior. And third, the

principles of contiguity (how close in time, two events must be for a bond to be

formed ) and reinforcement (any means of increasing the likelihood that an event will

be repeated ) are central to explaining the learning process. For behaviorism,

learning is the acquisition of new behavior through conditioning.

There are two types of possible conditioning:

1) Classical conditioning, where the behavior becomes a reflex response to stimulus

as in the case of Pavlov's Dogs. Pavlov was interested in studying reflexes, when he

saw that the dogs drooled without the proper stimulus. Although no food was in sight,

their saliva still dribbled. It turned out that the dogs were reacting to lab coats. Every

time the dogs were served food, the person who served the food was wearing a lab

coat. Therefore, the dogs reacted as if food was on its way whenever they saw a lab

coat.In a series of experiments, Pavlov then tried to figure out how these phenomena

were linked. For example, he struck a bell when the dogs were fed. If the bell was

sounded in close association with their meal, the dogs learned to associate the

sound of the bell with food. After a while, at the mere sound of the bell, they

responded by drooling.

Classical Conditioning (Ivan Pavlov) Several types of learning exist. The most basic form is associative learning, i.e., making a new association between events in the environment. There are two forms of associative learning: classical conditioning (made famous by Ivan Pavlov‟s experiments with dogs) and operant conditioning. Pavlov’s Dogs In the early twentieth century, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov did Nobel prize-winning work on digestion. While studying the role of saliva in dogs‟ digestive processes, he stumbled upon a phenomenon he labeled “psychic reflexes.” While an accidental discovery, he had the foresight to see the importance of it. Pavlov‟s dogs,

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restrained in an experimental chamber, were presented with meat powder and they had their saliva collected via a surgically implanted tube in their saliva glands. Over time, he noticed that his dogs who begin salivation before the meat powder was even presented, whether it was by the presence of the handler or merely by a clicking noise produced by the device that distributed the meat powder. Fascinated by this finding, Pavlov paired the meat powder with various stimuli such as the ringing of a bell. After the meat powder and bell (auditory stimulus) were presented together several times, the bell was used alone. Pavlov‟s dogs, as predicted, responded by salivating to the sound of the bell (without the food). The bell began as a neutral stimulus (i.e. the bell itself did not produce the dogs‟ salivation). However, by pairing the bell with the stimulus that did produce the salivation response, the bell was able to acquire the ability to trigger the salivation response. Pavlov therefore demonstrated how stimulus-response bonds (which some consider as the basic building blocks of learning) are formed. He dedicated much of the rest of his career further exploring this finding. In technical terms, the meat powder is considered an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) and the dog‟s salivation is the unconditioned response (UCR). The bell is a neutral stimulus until the dog learns to associate the bell with food. Then the bell becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) which produces the conditioned response (CR) of salivation after repeated pairings between the bell and food.

John B. Watson: Early Classical Conditioning with Humans

John B. Watson further extended Pavlov‟s work and applied it to human beings. In 1921, Watson studied Albert, an 11 month old infant child. The goal of the study was to condition Albert to become afraid of a white rat by pairing the white rat with a very loud, jarring noise (UCS). At first, Albert showed no sign of fear when he was presented with rats, but once the rat was repeatedly paired with the loud noise (UCS), Albert developed a fear of rats. It could be said that the loud noise (UCS) induced fear (UCR). The implications of Watson‟s experiment suggested that classical conditioning could cause some phobias in humans.

2) Operant conditioning where there is reinforcement of the behavior by a reward or

a punishment. The theory of operant conditioning was developed by B.F.

Skinner and is known as Radical Behaviorism. The word „operant‟ refers to the way

in which behavior „operates on the environment‟. Briefly, a behavior may result either

in reinforcement, which increases the likelihood of the behavior recurring, or

punishment, which decreases the likelihood of the behavior recurring. It is important

to note that, a punisher is not considered to be punishment if it does not result in the

reduction of the behavior, and so the terms punishment and reinforcement are

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determined as a result of the actions. Within this framework, behaviorists are

particularly interested in measurable changes in behavior.

Operant Conditioning is the term used by B.F. Skinner to describe the effects of the consequences of a particular behavior on the future occurrence of that behavior. There are four types of Operant Conditioning: Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Punishment, and Extinction. Both Positive and Negative Reinforcement strengthen behavior while both Punishment and Extinction weaken behavior. In Positive Reinforcement a particular behavior is strengthened by the consequence of experiencing a positive condition. For example: A hungry rat presses a bar in its cage and receives food. The food is a positive condition for the hungry rat. The rat presses the bar again, and again receives food. The rat's behavior of pressing the bar is strengthened by the consequence of receiving food. In Negative Reinforcement a particular behavior is strengthened by the consequence of stopping or avoiding a negative condition. For example: A rat is placed in a cage and immediately receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the rat. The rat presses a bar and the shock stops. The rat receives another shock, presses the bar again, and again the shock stops. The rat's behavior of pressing the bar is strengthened by the consequence of stopping the shock. In Punishment a particular behavior is weakened by the consequence of experiencing a negative condition. For example: A rat presses a bar in its cage and receives a mild electrical shock on its feet. The shock is a negative condition for the rat. The rat presses the bar again and again receives a shock. The rat's behavior of pressing the bar is weakened by the consequence of receiving a shock. In Extinction a particular behavior is weakened by the consequence of not experiencing a positive condition or stopping a negative condition. For example: A rat presses a bar in its cage and nothing happens. Neither a positive or a negative condition exists for the rat. The rat presses the bar again and again nothing happens. The rat's behavior of pressing the bar is weakened by the consequence of not experiencing anything positive or stopping anything negative.

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3.4 : Ausubel’s Theory: Reception learning and expository teaching

According to David Ausubel, a child learns as a result of the child‟s natural

tendency to organize information into some meaningful whole. Ausubel says

learning should be a deductive process, i.e. children should first learn a general

concept and then move towards specifics.

In the deductive strategy, a concept or principal is define and discussed using

appropriate labels and terms, followed by experiences to illustrates the idea. It

can involve hypothetical-deductive thinking whereby the learner generates idea

to be tested or discovered. The deductive approach can be used to promote

inquiry sessions and to construct knowledge. The first phase presents the

generalization and rules about the concept or principles under study , and the

second phase requires students to find examples of the concepts or principles.

The teacher‟s responsibility is to organize concepts and principles so that the

child can continually fit new learnings into the learnings that came earlier.

Ausubel‟s theories, which stress preparation and organization, have practical

applications for science classrooms.

Deductive approach to Instruction

Ausubel‟s Ideas for Your Science Classroom

1. Use advance organizers.


List, pronounce, and discuss science vocabulary words prior to

lessons that use new science terms

Role-play situations that may develop on a field trip.

Experiences with instances of a concept or principle

Receiving ideas and explanations of a concept or principle

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2. Use a number of examples.


Ask the children to give examples related to the science phenomena

observed in class from their own experiences.

Use pictures and diagrams to show various examples of such things

as constellations, animals, clouds, plants, etc.

3. Focus on both similarities and differences


Discuss how plants and animals are the same and different.

Explain what conventional and alternatives energy sources do and do

not have in common.

4. Present materials in an organized fashion.


Outline the content of particularly complicated lessons.

Organize the materials needed for a science activity in such a way

that a sign indicates whether they are to be used at the beginning,

middle, or end of the activity.

5. Discourage the rote learning of material that could be learned more



Children give responses to questions in activities or textbooks in their

own words.

Encourage children to explain the results of science activities to one


3.5 : Gagne’s Theory : Conditions of Learning Theory

A) Description

Although Gagne‟s theoretical framework covers many aspects of learning,

"the focus of the theory is on intellectual skills" (Kearsley, 1994a). Gagne‟s

theory is very prescriptive. In its original formulation, special attention was

given to military training (Gagne 1962, as cited in Kearsley, 1994a).

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In this theory, five major types of learning levels are identified:

verbal information

intellectual skills

cognitive strategies

motor skills


The importance behind the above system of classification is that each

learning level requires "different internal and external conditions" (Kearsley

1994a) i.e., each learning level requires different types of instruction.

Kearsley provides the following example:

For cognitive strategies to be learned, there must be a chance to practice

developing new solutions to problems; to learn attitudes, the learner must be

exposed to a credible role model or persuasive arguments.

Gagne also contends that learning tasks for intellectual skills can be

organized in a hierarchy according to complexity:

stimulus recognition

response generation

procedure following

use of terminology


concept formation

rule application

problem solving

The primary significance of this hierarchy is to provide direction for instructors

so that they can "identify prerequisites that should be completed to facilitate

learning at each level" (Kearsley 1994a). This learning hierarchy also

provides a basis for sequencing instruction. Gagne outlines the following nine

instructional events and corresponding cognitive processes (as cited in

Kearsley 1994):

1. gaining attention (reception)

2. informing learners of the objective (expectancy)

3. stimulating recall of prior learning (retrieval)

4. presenting the stimulus (selective perception)

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5. providing learning guidance (semantic encoding)

6. eliciting performance (responding)

7. providing feedback (reinforcement)

8. assessing performance (retrieval)

9. enhancing retention and transfer (generalization)

B) Practical Application

Gagne‟s nine instructional events and corresponding cognitive processes can

serve as the basis for designing instruction and selecting appropriate media

(Gagne, Briggs & Wager, 1992, as cited in Kearsley 1994a). In applying these

instructional events, Kearsley (1994a) suggests keeping the following

principles in mind:

1. Learning hierarchies define a sequence of instruction.

2. Learning hierarchies define what intellectual skills are to be learned.

3. Different instruction is required for different learning outcomes.

Gagne‟s Ideas for Your Science Classroom

1. Verbal information


Have children recall science facts and concepts orally or in writing.

Model the use of advance organizers such as diagrams and lists

of key words prior to children reading science material or

observing video tapes of science phenomena.

2. Intellectual Skills.


Have children “invent” rules that govern processes, find similarities

and differences, and predict outcomes.

Emphasize the search patterns and regularities during hands-on

experiences. Whenever possible have children not only compare

organisms, objects, and phenomena but also contrast them.

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3. Cognitive strategies.


Encourage children to find their own ways to remember

information and ideas.

Model the use of mnemonic devices, diagrams, outlines,

journaling, audio taping, and other techniques for retaining ideas

4. Attitudes.


Select content and experiences that are relevant to the child‟s

daily life and intriguing to the child so that the child develops a

positive attitude toward science and chooses science-related

experiences during leisure time.

5. Acquisition of motor skills.


Through the use of discovery-oriented experiences provide

children with opportunities to use hand lenses, simple tools,

measuring devices, etc.

Activity 1: Make a comparison between Bruner‟s theory and Ausubel ‟s theory.

Activity 2: Choose a topic and describe briefly how you would teach using inductive and

deductive approaches.

Activity 3 Think of 3 ways to inculcate positive scientific values among students while

conducting an experiment in the laboratory.

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3.6 : Information-Processing Theory- Atkins & Shiffrin; Baddeley‟s

The Atkinson-Shiffrin model, Multi-store model or Multi-memory model is

a psychological model proposed in 1968 as a proposal for the structure of memory. It

proposed that human memory involves a sequence of three stages:

1. Sensory memory (SM)

2. Working memory or short-term memory (STM)

3. Long-term memory (LTM)

Sensory memory

The sense organs have a limited ability to store information about the world in a fairly

unprocessed way for less than a second. The visual system possesses iconic

memory for visual stimuli such as shape, size, colour and location (but not meaning),

whereas the hearing system has echoic memory for auditory stimuli. Coltheart et al

(1974) have argued that the momentary freezing of visual input allows us to select

which aspects of the input should go on for further memory processing. The

existence of sensory memory has been experimentally demonstrated by Sperling

(1960) using a tachistoscope.

Short-term memory

Information selected by attention from sensory memory, may pass into short term

memory (STM). This allows us to retain information long enough to use it, e.g.

looking up a telephone number and remembering it long enough to dial it. Peterson

and Peterson (1959) have demonstrated that STM last approximately between 15

and 30 seconds, unless people rehearse the material, while Miller (1956) has found

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that STM has a limited capacity of around 7 „chunks‟ of information. STM also

appears to mostly encode memory acoustically (in terms of sound) as Conrad (1964)

has demonstrated, but can also retain visuospatial images.

Long-term memory

LTM provides the lasting retention of information and skills, from minutes to a

lifetime. Long term memory appears to have an almost limitless capacity to retain

information, but it could never be measured as it would take too long. LT information

seems to be encoded mainly in terms of meaning (semantic memory) as Baddeley

has shown, but also retains procedural skills and imagery.

3.7 : Constructivist Approaches What is constructivism? Constructivism is basically a learning theory based on observation and scientific

study. It is about how people learn. It says that people construct their own

understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and

reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to

reconcile it with our previous ideas and experiences. In doing so we may have to

change what we believe or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant. The

constructivist learners are active creators of our own knowledge. To be constructivist

learners, we must ask questions, explore ideas and assess what we know.

Constructivism proposes that children learn as a result of their personal generation of

meaning from experiences. The fundamental role of a teacher is to help children

generate connections between what is to be learned and what the children already

know or believe. There are three principles that make up the theory of constructivism:

1. A person never really knows the world as it is. Each person constructs beliefs

about what is real.

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2. What a person already believes, what a person brings to new situations,

filters out or changes the information that the persons‟ senses deliver.

3. People create a reality based on their previous beliefs, their own abilities to

reason, and their desire to reconcile what they believe and what they actually


In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning can have a number of different

teaching practices. In the most general sense, it usually means encouraging students

to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving ) to create more

knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their

understanding is changing. The teacher makes sure she understands the students‟

preexisting conceptions, and guides the activity to address them and build on them.

Constructivist teachers encourage students to constantly assess how the activity is

helping them gain understanding. By questioning themselves and their strategies,

students in the constructivist classroom ideally become “expert learners”. This gives

them ever-broadening tools to keep learning. With a well-planned classroom

environment, the students learn how to learn.

Traditional class versus constructivist class

The table below compares the traditional classroom to the constructivist one. In the

constructivist model, the students are urged to be actively involved in their own

process of learning. One of the teacher‟s biggest job is becomes ASKING GOOD

QUESTIONS (The constructivists acknowledge that students are constructing

knowledge in a traditional classrooms too but its really a matter of emphasis being on

the student not the teacher.)



Teachers disseminate information to students and students are recipients of knowledge.

Teachers have discuss with their students and help them construct their own knowledge.

Teacher‟s role is directive, rooted in authority .

Teacher‟s role is interactive, rooted in negotiation.

Knowledge is seen as inert. Knowledge is seen as dynamic ever changing with our experiences.

Students work primarily alone. Students work primarily in groups.

Assessment is through testing correct answers.

Assessment includes students works, observations, and points of view, as well as tests. Process is as important as product.

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Applying Constructivism in the Classroom

The constructivist teachers pose questions and problems, then guide

students to help them find their own answers. They use many techniques in

the teaching process.

In a constructivist classroom, learning is


Constructed – students come to learning situations with already formulated knowledge, ideas and understandings. This previous knowledge is the raw material for the new knowledge they will create.

An elementary school teacher presents a class problem to measure the length of the “Mayflower”. Rather than starting the problem by introducing the ruler, the teacher allows students to reflect and to construct their own methods of measurement. One student offers the knowledge that a doctor said he is four feet tall. Another says she knows horses are measured in “hands”. The students discuss these and other methods they have heard about, and decide on one to apply to the problem.

Active – students create new understanding for him/herself. The teacher coaches, moderates, suggests but allow the students room to experiment, ask questions, try things that don‟t work. Learning activities require students‟ full participation and they need to reflect on, and talk about, their activities.

Groups of students in a science class are discussing a problem in physics. Though the teacher knows the “answer” to the problem, she focuses on helping students restate their questions in useful ways. She prompts each student to reflect on and examine his or her current knowledge. When one of the students comes up with the relevant concept, the teacher seizes upon it and indicates to the group that this might be a fruitful avenue for them to explore. They design and perform relevant experiments. Afterward, the students and teacher talk about what they have learned, and how their observations and experiments helped them to better understand the concept.

Reflective – students control their own learning process by reflecting on their experiences. This process makes them experts of their own learning. The teacher helps create situations where the students feel safe questioning and reflecting on their own processes, either privately or in group discussion.

Students keep journals in carrying out science projects where they record how they feel about the project, the visual and verbal reactions of others to the project. Periodically the teacher reads these journals and holds a conference with the student where the two assess (1) what new knowledge the student has created, (2) how the student learns best and (3) the learning environment and the teacher‟s role in it.

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Collaborative –the constructivist classroom relies heavily on collaboration among students. When students review and reflect on their learning processes together, they can pick up strategies and methods from one another

A group of students carrying out an experiment to determine the melting point of naphthalene. They collaborate by doing different tasks simultaneously. One reads the temperature while another reads aloud the time interval. At the same time another student tabulates the reading and draws the cooling curve. Together they interpret the data and discuss the results.

Inquiry based – students use inquiry methods to ask questions, investigate a topic and use variety of resources to find solutions and answers.

Sixth graders figuring out how to purify water investigate solutions ranging from coffee-filter paper, to a stove-top distillation apparatus, to piles of charcoal, to an abstract mathematical solution based on the size of a water molecule. Depending upon students responses, the teacher encourages abstract as well as concrete, poetic as well as practical, creations of new knowledge.

Evolving- students have ideas that they may later see were invalid, incorrect, or insufficient to explain new experiences. These ideas are temporary steps in the integration of knowledge. Constructivist teaching takes into account students‟ current conceptions and builds from there.

An elementary teacher believes her students are ready to study gravity. She creates an environment of discovery with objects of varying kinds. Students explore the differences in weight among similar blocks of Styrofoam, wood and lead. Some students hold the notion that heavier objects fall faster than light ones. The teacher provides materials about Galileo and Newton. She leads the discussion on theories about falling. The students then replicate Galileo‟s experiment by dropping objects of different weights and measuring how fast they fall. They see that objects of different weights actually fall at the same speed, although surface area and aerodynamic properties can affect the rate of fall.

Teaching Models Based on Constructivist Approach

Needham’s Five Phase Constructive Model

This learning model was proposed by Richard Needham (1987 ) in his work

„Children Learning in Science Project‟. It consists of five phases namely the

orientation, the generation of ideas, restructuring of ideas, application of

ideas and lastly the reflection .

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Needham Five Phases Constructivist Model is shown in the table below :-


Orientation To attract students attention and interest.

Experiment, video and film show, demonstration, problem solving.

Generation of ideas To be aware of the student‟s prior knowledge.

Experiment, small group discussion, concept mapping and presentation.

Restructuring of ideas i. Explanation and exchanging ideas. ii. Exposure to conflict ideas. iii. Development of new ideas. iv. Evaluation.

To realize the existence of alternative ideas , ideas needs to be improved, to be developed or to be replaced with scientific ideas. To determine the alternative ideas and critically assess the present ideas. To test the validity of the present ideas. To improvise, develop or to replace with new ideas. To test the validity of the new ideas.

Small group discussion and presentation. Discussion, reading, and teacher‟s input. Experiment, project and demonstration.

Application of ideas To apply the new ideas to a different situation.

Writing of individual‟s report on the project work.

Reflection To accommodate ones idea to the scientific ideas.

Writing of individual‟s report on the project work, group discussion, personal notes.

Adapted from “Buku Sumber Pengajaran Pembelajaran Sains Sekolah Rendah, Jilid III” ( 1995) ms 15-16.

Further reading: Needham, R & Hill, P ( 1987 ), Teaching Strategies For Developing Understanding in Science. University of Leeds.

Osborne Generative Model The generative learning model, developed by Roger J. Osborne and Michael C. Wittrock (1983), is both a model of how children learn and a model of how to teach children. This constructivist model is based on the premise that children come to the classroom with a body of prior knowledge that may or may not be compatible with the new concept being presented in the science lesson. The learner must be able to connect between prior knowledge and new information to successfully construct new meanings. This teaching model outlines a series of steps for a well-designed lesson, the preliminary, focus, challenge, and Application Phases as shown in the table below :-

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The preliminary phase - includes any activity that allows the teacher to find out what prior knowledge the students have relevant to the new concept. This can be as simple as a brief pre-test, or it may include a quick demonstration or activity that provides a discrepant event (an activity with a surprising, unexpected results). This is an opportunity for the teacher to find out what prerequisite knowledge the students lack or what misconceptions the students have that may interfere with their understanding of the concept.

In conducting a lesson on buoyancy (sinking & floating), teacher may find that some students may lack a thorough understanding of the concepts density, mass, and volume. A lack of this knowledge will block students‟ ability to put together a sound understanding of buoyancy. If the preliminary phase reveals that students lack that knowledge, the teacher then knows she/he will have to include time to develop those prerequisite concepts.

The focus phase - provides an activity (which may be a hands-on inquiry activity or a brain-teaser) that gives the students an opportunity to play around with an example of the concept (such as playing around with objects that sink or float). To create a discrepant event that stimulates the students‟ curiosity, we would include objects that students would expect to sink, but which actually float.

Students in small groups conduct an experiment investigating buoyancy of several objects. Conducting these activities in small groups is very effective. The students often automatically experiment with the materials, discuss their results, and challenge and test their explanations/ideas together.

The challenge phase - is a time for the students to compare their own ideas with those of others. Although this can be done individually, it is a powerful group learning activity. Class members are encouraged to debate, challenge, and test each other‟s ideas, while the teacher encourages all the students‟ ideas and provides them with challenging questions about their explanations. It is up to the students to test the ideas and eliminate ideas that they determine don‟t work. The teacher facilitates this by helping them figure out how to test out each idea. When the teacher determines that the students are cognitively ready to understand the scientific version of the concept, the teacher can present the concept.

Students present their findings and exchange ideas; students debate and test out their explanations. Teacher explains the concept of buoyancy.

The application phase - provides students with opportunities to find out whether the concept is applicable to a variety of situations. We suggest that students be given opportunities to examine at least five situations to which the concept can be applied. New examples may provide new twists on the concept that will lead to a new round of discussion and testing

In the lesson on buoyancy, the aluminum foil boat does not appear at first to fit the standard concept. The concept must be re-defined to include boats. Finally, the teacher can refine the students‟ understanding by providing one or two non-examples of the concept, i.e., examples that look like they should follow the rule but, on closer examination, do not. This will help deter students from automatically applying the new concept to all situations.

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Intractive Model ( Faire and Cosgrove )

Learning is an interactive process (which actively engages the learner) not a passive

exercise in transmission of knowledge. Interactive learning promotes development of

scientific process skills , development of conceptual understandings, student

ownership of process and products of learning.

Learning begins with an initiating event which motivates and directs the learner ' s

attention to the task of learning e.g.

a question to be answered

a problem to be solved

a challenge to be met

a discrepant event to be explained

Learning proceeds to children actively engaging in the learning process by:

asking their own questions

stating their own existing ideas

proposing hypotheses

designing fair tests

investigating and exploring

refining their ideas

stating and presenting their findings

The Teacher's Role in an Interactive Learning Environment

Provide the initiation to learning (by posing the question,

challenge, problem or discrepant event and motivating the

learners to the learning task).

Facilitate the learning activities by:

defining the learning environment (e.g. grouping,

access to materials, setting the time frame, defining


probing children ' s ideas

offering guidance in the formation of hypotheses

helping children refine and focus their questions

helping children set up their investigations

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providing feedback and encouragement in the

children ' s design of fair tests

challenging children to test, apply, refine and

extend their ideas.

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Sequential activities in interactive model are shown in the schematic diagram below :-


Teacher and students choose a topic

and search for information.

Pre-requisite Knowledge

Teacher determines student’s prior


Exploratory Activity

Students investigate the topic through

reading , asking questions and


Students Ask Questions

Students pose questions regarding the


Doing Research

Teacher and students select questions to

study in greater detail.


Students present their findings and teacher

observes for changes in students’



Teacher guides student to reflects on what

they have learned and how they have





Adapted from “ Buku Sumber Pengajaran Pembelajaran Sains Sekolah Rendah, Jilid III” ( 1995 ), ms 67.

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Activity 1 : Define constructivism and its attributes in science classroom practices.

Activity 2: Discuss the various techniques to identify children‟s alternative framework on the

topic electricity.

Activity 3: Choose a topic of your specialize area and discuss briefly the teaching and learning activities using constructivist approach.

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3.8 : Misconception

Students enter the classroom with pre-existing ideas about the world which

are different to those held by scientists i.e. embody misconceptions.

Research indicates that student misconceptions about things which have a

scientific dimension or explanation:

are extremely common (unsurprising given that children have been

thinking about and coping with the natural world for many years prior

to their exposure to a formal scientific education)

hinder understanding of accepted scientific explanations (until they

are discarded by the learner, alternative concepts will not be learned)

are not easily displaced (and will not usually be displaced simply

through revelation of the scientific explanation/concept or at the

behest of the teacher)

can coexist with scientific concepts (in which case they are only used

in situations perceived as requiring a "scientific" answer/response, but

not in the student's everyday thinking about the world)

can be found even among the "experts" (research indicates many

scientists and teachers unknowingly retain misconceptions e.g. in

physics, the impetus model of motion rather than the Newtonian one

of inertia)

Techniques to Identify Alternative Frameworks:-






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Displacing Misconceptions

Misconceptions can be displaced and students will accept a scientific

conception if :

the student understands the meaning of the scientific conception

the scientific conception is believable (this means that it must be

compatible with the student's other conceptions.

the scientific conception is found to be useful to the student in

interpreting, explaining or predicting phenomena that cannot be

satisfactorily accounted for by the formerly held misconceptions (i.e.

the scientific concept must be seen to be better than the student's

prior belief)

the student progressively gains expertise in using the new scientific

concepts (a slow process requiring a long time period and gradual

building of knowledge through experience).

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References Abruscato, J. (2004). Teaching children science: A discovery approach. (5th edn.).

Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Driver, R.(1983). The Pupil as Scientist. Buckingham: Open University Press. Driver, R.; Guesne,E. and Tiberghien,A.(1985). Children’s Ideas in Science.

Buckingham: Open University Press. Driver,R.; Leach,J.;Miller,R. and Scott, P. (1996). Young People’s Images of

Science. Buckingham: Open University Press. Esler, W. K. & Esler, M. K. (2001). Teaching Elementary Science (8th

ed.).Washington: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Fleer, M., & Hardy. T. (2001). Science for children: Developing a personal approach

to teaching. (2nd Edition). Sydney: Prentice Hall. Martin, D.J. (2006). Elementary Science Methods: A Constructivist Approach.

Belmont:Thomson Wadsworth. Martin, R.; Sexton, C.; Gerlovich, J. (2002). Teaching Science for All Children-

Methods for Constructing Understanding. Boston: Allyn and Bacon Skamp, K. (2004). Teaching primary science constructively. Southbank, Victoria:

Harcourt Brace.