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The Role of Art Practice in Elementary School Science

Authors
  • Caiman, Cecilia
  • Jakobson, Britt
Type
Published Article
Journal
Science & Education
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Feb 28, 2019
Volume
28
Issue
1-2
Pages
153–175
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11191-019-00036-2
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the role of aesthetic practice in elementary school and the consequences for children’s meaning-making in science. More specifically, we intended to scrutinise what science learning emerges within the process, to target the consequences of adopting art practice in science class and to explore these two dimensions as a whole in order to better understand how children make meaning when exploring animals’ ecology. The data, comprising audio recordings, photographs of children’s drawings and field notes, were collected in one school which we visited on three occasions over a period of four consecutive days. The school is located in Sweden, and the children participating in the study were between 6 and 7 years old (Swedish grade 1). In this particular study, the children were involved in exploring animals’ ecology. Data was analysed by means of practical epistemology analysis (PEA), taking its stance in Deweyan pragmatic philosophy on learning and meaning-making. The results reveal that art practice was important for children’s cognitive and aesthetic learning in science. The entanglement of science learning and art-in-the-making was shown to be of significance for broadening and deepening children’s science repertoire. In addition, children’s imagination and creativity was a vital part of their meaning-making when exploring a complex phenomenon, such as the spinneret, the “spider-thread machine”. All along the process, the young learners, in transaction with the contextual features, developed agency meaning that the children owned the problems and developed action strategies through art and speech.

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