, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 1005-1028
Date: 07 Jun 2012

Knowing and Learning about Science in Primary School ‘Communities of Science Practice’: The Views of Participating Scientists in the MyScience Initiative

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Abstract

MyScience is a primary science education initiative in which being in a community of practice is integral to the learning process. One component of this initiative involves professional scientists interacting with primary school communities which are navigating their way towards sustainable ‘communities of practice’ around the ‘domain’ of ‘investigating scientifically’. This paper describes the ongoing journey to date of eleven scientists (six astronomers and five engineers) who actively participated in MyScience over an extended period. Their views of interactions with teachers and students were analysed using attributes associated with both ‘communities of practice’ and the ‘nature of science’. Findings reveal new understandings about the evolving characteristics associated with the development of such school-community collaborations as well as affordances and barriers that may influence their further growth. The influence of these scientists’ own ‘community of science practices’ may account for some of the findings. Implications for science teaching and learning in primary school community of practice settings are discussed.