Teaching Science to Primary School Students, Focused on Critical

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Teaching Science to Primary School Students, Focused on Critical
Thinking Skills Development, Using Case Studies from History of Science
KATERINA MALAMITSA, Ph.D. in Science Education, Faculty of Primary
Education, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, mail address:
134, Lykourgou Street, Kallithea, 176 75, Attiki, Greece
PANOS KOKKOTAS, Professor in Science Education, Faculty of Primary Education,
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, mail address: 13, Olgas
Street, Glyfada, 165 61, Attiki, Greece
AIKATERINI RIZAKI, Ph.D. in Science Education, Faculty of Primary Education,
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, mail address: 13,
Androutsou Street, 111 46, Attiki, Greece
Abstract In contemporary academic literature and in many national curricula, there is
a widespread acceptance that critical thinking should be an important dimension of
Education. Furthermore, it is well known that school science lacks the vitality of
investigation, discovery, and creative invention that often accompanies science-in-themaking. An appropriate context to improve science teaching is that learning scientific
knowledge, learning about the nature of science, and doing science should be
considered as inseparable. A common problem is that many of the contemporary
science programs focus on teaching the content of science and not its methodology, or
its development, history and effect on our society. On the other hand, many
researchers and educators (Matthews, 1994, 1998a, 1998b; Stinner et al, 2003)
support that History of Science can provide content material which could be used in
science teaching enhancing the way students understand how science works and
promoting the development of the thinking skills needed to critically analyze ideas
and compare them with observations.
In our proposal, we have designed and implemented a teaching project which
explicitly tackles issues in the broader context of History of Science, together with
aspects of the Nature of Science in a pronouncedly non-authoritarian and studentcentred approach. During the implementation we took into account the possibility to
provide opportunities to the students who participated to our project, to directly
address values connected to science, its history and its nature. Results from the
assessment of the above implementation will be presented which we assume they
contribute to the discussion about students’ critical thinking skills development.
Keywords Teaching Program, Assessment of Students’ Critical Thinking Skills,
Electromagnetism, Research
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