Creating Collective Scientific Consciousness: A Cultural-Historical Study of Early Learning about Earth and Space in the Context of Family Imaginary Play

Yijun Hao,Marilyn Fleer
page. 93~124 / 2016 Vol.10 No.2


Based on a cultural-historical perspective, where play is conceptualized as the creation of animaginary situation, this study seeks to examine how scientific learning is fostered throughcollectively created imaginary situations during everyday family practices. This study forms part of abroader study, and in this paper the focus is on a three-year-old child and his family from MainlandChina. A theoretical discussion of data collected reveals that a collectively created imaginarysituation provides the conditions for a child’s exploration of scientific phenomenon not directlyobservable (e.g. Earth rotation and revolution). A form of collectively supported scientificconsciousness was realized through discussions, imagining and re-imagining of everyday objects asscientific phenomenon. Scientific laws, as the rules of the scientific play being enacted by the family,enabled the child to be both imagining and viscerally experiencing which cannot be seen. Thefindings contribute to understanding how families create playful conditions that support scientificlearning in the early childhood period.

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