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A Sociocultural Perspective on Young Children’s Conceptions of the Moon: Two Australian Case Studies Grady Venville University of Western Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "A Sociocultural Perspective on Young Children’s Conceptions of the Moon: Two Australian Case Studies Grady Venville University of Western Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Sociocultural Perspective on Young Children’s Conceptions of the Moon: Two Australian Case Studies Grady Venville University of Western Australia

2 Purpose and Research Questions The purpose was to investigate young Australian children’s understandings of the moon from a sociocultural perspective What conceptions do young Australian children have of the moon? What conceptions do young Australian children have of the moon? What social and/or cultural factors can be related to those conceptions? What social and/or cultural factors can be related to those conceptions?

3 Literature Review and Theoretical Frame Vosniadou’s (2003) four variables of a theory of conceptual change include the broader social and cultural environments in which children live and learn Vosniadou’s (2003) four variables of a theory of conceptual change include the broader social and cultural environments in which children live and learn Vosniadou and Brewer (1990; 1994) USA and Greek study Vosniadou and Brewer (1990; 1994) USA and Greek study Fleer (1997) 4-8 year old rural Aboriginal Australian children’s views of night and day Fleer (1997) 4-8 year old rural Aboriginal Australian children’s views of night and day

4 Method Multiple case study design of 2 Australian children - Sally (7yrs), Steve (5 yrs) Multiple case study design of 2 Australian children - Sally (7yrs), Steve (5 yrs) In-depth interviews (audio and video recorded) In-depth interviews (audio and video recorded) In-depth interviews with parents (audio) In-depth interviews with parents (audio) Thematic approach to data analysis Thematic approach to data analysis

5 Australian Context PERTH SYDNEY

6 Perth City view from UWA

7 Bicton Primary School

8 Theme 1: The moon, rockets and astronauts Interviewer: What else do you know about the moon, Sally? Sally: Rockets come on it. It’s big. And they blow fire out of it and they come apart.

9 Theme 2: The Non-living Moon Interviewer: Do you think the moon is alive? Sally: No. Interviewer: No, why not? [pause] Can you tell me something that is alive? Are you alive? Sally: Yes [laughter]. Interviewer: Yes, Is Mia alive, your cat? Sally: Yes. Interviewer: So why isn’t the moon alive? Sally: Because it doesn’t have a face on it.

10 Theme 3: Movement and the Moon Steve’s Dad: So we’ll be sitting here at night time watching the cricket [on satellite TV], and he’ll say where’s that, Dad? and I’ll say England, and okay so they’re playing in England, so [in Steve’s mind] the sun’s over there. Steve’s Mum: We’ve got relatives in England and mum’s [on holiday].

11 Theme 4: The Yellow Plastic Moon Interviewer: Do you know what the moon might be made out of? Steve: Plastic. Interviewer: Plastic, why do you think that? Steve:Bats. Interviewer: Bats, yes, oh like a cricket bat? Do you have a cricket bat made out of plastic? Steve:Yes, I’ve got three.

12 Theme 5: Views from the Moon Interviewer: What do you think Earth would look like [from the moon]? Sally: A circle and then the thing inside it. Interviewer: The thing inside? Sally: Ah hum [yes]. Interviewer: What’s inside? Sally: Australia.

13 Conclusion Strong cultural and social factors influenced the children’s developing conceptions of the moon Strong cultural and social factors influenced the children’s developing conceptions of the moon e.g. books, social activities with the family, television, school activities, sporting events, pets, telephoning relatives in other countries e.g. books, social activities with the family, television, school activities, sporting events, pets, telephoning relatives in other countries Observations support Vosniadou’s 4 th variable in theoretical framework Observations support Vosniadou’s 4 th variable in theoretical framework Influence can be positive and negative in terms of learning science Influence can be positive and negative in terms of learning science Ideas children develop are consistent with children’s social and cultural environment Ideas children develop are consistent with children’s social and cultural environment Teachers and researchers need to take children’s social and cultural environment into consideration Teachers and researchers need to take children’s social and cultural environment into consideration


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