Play with Science in Inquiry Based Science Education

Conference object English OPEN
Andrée, Maria ; Lager-Nyqvist, Lotta ; Wickman, Per-Olof (2012)
  • Publisher: Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för matematikämnets och naturvetenskapsämnenas didaktik
  • Subject: play | lower secondary school | informal play | Didactics | inquiry | science learning | Didaktik
    acm: ComputingMilieux_PERSONALCOMPUTING | ComputingMilieux_COMPUTERSANDEDUCATION

In science education students sometimes engage in imaginary science-oriented play where ideas about science and scientists are put to use. Through play, children interpret their experiences, dramatize, give life to and transform what they know into a lived narrative. In this paper we build on the work of Vygotsky on imagination and creativity. Previous research on play in primary and secondary school has focused on play as a method for formal instruction rather than students’ spontaneous informal play. Our aim is to explore students’ informal play as part of activity in lower secondary school science. The empirical study was conducted as part of a larger study on learning, narrative knowing and remembering in inquiry based science education in two Swedish compulsory schools. Data were collected during 10 weeks using video- and audiotape recordings. The results show that the studied classroom practices offer students a variety of resources that may be used to engage in spontaneous play with science. We discern two categories of play: role-playing and game-playing involving transformations of classroom tasks and opening up for different social positioning in relation to science. Implications for teaching science is that teachers, in order to promote students learning about science as a cultural endeavor and about themselves in relation to science and scientist communities may encourage students’ informal play. LINT
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