Do Primary School Science Books for Children Show a Concern for Explanatory Understanding?

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  2. Professor Douglas Newton
  3. Dr Anthony Blake
Author(s)Blake A; Newton DP; Newton LD; Brown K
Publication type Article
JournalResearch in Science & Technological Education
ISSN (print)0263-5143
ISSN (electronic)1470-1138
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Explanatory understanding is a valued goal in science education and yet research evidence suggests that, for a variety of reasons, it is not always a major concern of primary science teachers. Do primary science books shaow a concern for explanatory understanding? Using a structured analysis schedule, this study explored the extent to which 76 current primary science textbooks, intended for use with older primary children (7-11 years), showed a concern for explanatory understanding. The results indicated that the majority of the books did not reflect such a concern. Nevertheless, some books did include causal and intentional explanations. These could be a useful resource in that they could help shape both teachers' and children's conceptions of what counts as understanding in science.
NotesTexts relating to children’s knowledge and understanding of primary science are popular in the primary classroom, but little systematic analysis has been carried out on the types of understanding they promote in this knowledge domain and how effectively they support such understandings. This study provides a mechanism for teachers to use in selecting primary science texts for the classroom.
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