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Noraini Abbas (2006). Closing the gap: Looking into scientific literacy for early childhood education. In Y. J. Lee, A. L. Tan & B. T. Ho (Eds.), Proceedings of ISEC 2006 (pp. 45-54). Singapore: National Institute of Education.
Many educational and cognitive theorists believe that attempts to teach young children scientific
knowledge is doomed to failure as they have not reached the Piagetian developmental stage of formal
operational thinking. I argue that this is not the case. Children can learn basic scientific concepts and
models if they are given appropriate, well-designed instruction. Furthermore, scientific concepts are a
good domain for teaching young children about the nature of scientific knowledge. This paper
describes an approach that enables children, aged between three to four year olds, to develop a
conceptual model that embodies the principles underlying floating, and to apply their model in making
predictions, solving problems and generating explanations in their own way. The objective of this
study is to enable young children to construct a series of increasingly sophisticated models for
reasoning on the topic of buoyancy. This approach is an integration of several instructional strategies
and it is linked to other subjects such as English, Mathematics and Art. Findings from this study will be
useful in providing a range of effective instructional tools such as the conceptual change approach, to
raise young children’s scientific understandings to a higher level. Furthermore, it could also close the
disparaging gap between the different entry points of children’s scientific knowledge upon entering
primary schools.
This paper was presented at the International Science Education Conference (ISEC 2006), held in Singapore from 22 - 24 Nov 2006
Appears in Collections:Conference Papers

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