04 Teaching science through play within a Cultural-historical approach: Using everyday and scientific concepts to guide teaching practice
The use of a cultural-historical theoretical approach has foregrounded the influence of the cultural and social context on children’s scientific thinking and learning (Robbins, 2005). In particular, the cultural-historical theoretical concept of everyday and scientific knowledge (Vygotsky, 1987) has enabled understanding of children’s science learning through play and the role of the educator within this (e.g. Fleer, 2009; Hedges, 2012; Sikder & Fleer, 2015). However, less is known about educators’ experiences of using this theory to guide their teaching practice. In this paper, we present one of the authors’ experiences of intentionally and consciously using cultural-historical theory, particularly the concept of everyday and scientific knowledge, to inform the design and implementation of a play-based science learning sequence in an Australian primary school. Through this example, we argue that the theoretical concept of everyday and scientific knowledge can provide educators with a helpful tool to guide and support their planning and teaching of play-based science learning experiences. Using this theoretical concept as a lens, we argue that teachers can be more orientated to recognising opportunities for science learning in children’s everyday conversation and activities.