Designing a Learning Progression for Teaching and Learning About Matter in Early School Years

  • Andrés Acher
  • María Arcà
Part of the Contributions from Science Education Research book series (CFSE, volume 1)


Our overarching goal is to engage students and teachers in long-term and in-depth scientific knowledge constructions across different years of school. In this context, we present part of our ongoing work for designing a learning progression (LP) to support young children, from pre-k to 4th grade, to start learning about matter through their experiences with materials from their physical environment. In this progression, students gradually develop increasingly complex models of the internal invisible structure of materials while they engage in interpreting properties and transformations in these materials. We select three interwoven elements of design: children’s articulations of particular intuitive ideas, materials that contextualize these articulations, and teacher acts promoting and sustaining children’s gradual articulations of ideas. We report our design work by providing first a rationale for the design elements chosen that also represent our units of analysis; second, we briefly describe the context of our work; third, we illustrate refinements in our LP with descriptions of some lessons learned in different classrooms. We conclude by delineating our idea of progression and possible ways to continue with our work to finally identify some coincidences with other LP frameworks in similar areas of research.


Break Water Learn Progression Instructional Goal Complex Articulation Classroom Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We wish to offer our heartfelt thanks to teachers Anna Aiolfi and Marika Quaglietta, Scuola dell’ Infanzia Andersen 1 Circolo di Spinea, Italy. We also wish to thank Lisa Kenyon and Maria Evagorou for first revisions of this manuscript and anonymous reviewers for their suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-WittenbergHalle-SaaleGermany
  2. 2.CNRRomeItaly

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