[Truncated abstract] The rationale for the research undertaken for this thesis originated from the current reform of primary science curricula in China and Australia. China plans to change the curriculum to better reflect hands-on and inquiry-based models and make science education available to lower primary children in kindergarten to Year 2. Australia has a new national curriculum which will be implemented with children from kindergarten to Year 10 across the country from 2012. The different approaches to primary science curricula in China and Australia presented a unique contextual opportunity to investigate primary children’s conceptual understandings of science and the impact the approach to curriculum has on their understandings. The rationale for the research was that through comparisons, approaches to primary science in both countries could be better understood, informed and improved. Further, our general understandings of primary science curriculum and children’s conceptual understanding of science could be enhanced. Due to the vast size of both China and Australia and the resources available for this doctoral research, the research design was a multiple comparative case study. The data were collected through mixed methods, including an initial science quiz and an in-depth interview. The Chinese participants were 135 Year 3 children (mean age = 8.0) and 140 Year 6 children (mean age = 12.1) from three schools with high, medium and low socioeconomic status in Hunan Province, central south China. The Australian participants were 120 Year 3 children (mean age = 8.4) and 105 Year 6 children (mean age = 11.5) from three schools with similar socioeconomic status in Western Australia.
|Doctor of Philosophy
|Unpublished - 2012