Of Course Scientists Haven’t Seen Dinosaurs on the Beach: Turkish Kindergartners’ Developing Understanding of the Nature of Science Through Explicit–Reflective Instruction
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Although the importance of nature of science (NOS) instruction for learners as young as kindergartners is emphasised in a great number of documents and studies, very little research has been conducted in early childhood contexts. Thus, researchers are still not able to see a comprehensive picture of young children’s understandings of NOS. The purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate kindergartners’ developmental ability to comprehend tenets of NOS. Using an explicit–reflective approach and activities designed to develop their understandings of NOS, we instructed eight kindergartners for 10 days over the course of a month to document changes in their thinking. To this end, they were interviewed individually using Young Children’s Views of Science before and after instruction. The results indicate that generally, the kindergartners had an inadequate understanding of NOS before instruction but had developed it by the end of instruction. Each child’s understanding of the individual aspects of NOS developed to different degrees, creative NOS improving most substantially. This study corroborates that kindergartners are not developmentally constrained to develop informed NOS understandings. On the contrary, they are able to develop an informed understanding of NOS that can be improved by the implementation of explicit–reflective instruction.
KeywordsEarly childhood education Nature of science Explicit–reflective instruction
This study was supported by Anadolu University Scientific Research Projects Commission under the Grant No. 1304E071.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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