Color Visions from the Past in Science Teaching Within a Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) Context

Eleni Kolokouri, Katerina Plakitsi


This study uses history of science in teaching natural sciences from the early grades. The theoretical framework used is

Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), which is a theory with expanding applications in different fields of science.

The didactical scenario, in which history of science is used in a CHAT context, refers to Newton’s presentation of color

theory to the scientific society. The question addressed in this study is to connect the history of science with science

teaching from the early grades and propose the socio-cultural aspect of teaching natural sciences as a means to reform

natural sciences education. The study is divided in two parts. The first part concerns a series of natural science

activities and the proper didactic strategies to teach colour theory concepts practiced in the university laboratory by

prospective teachers. The second part is an application of the previous activities in Ioannina pre-primary school

classrooms. Research data are collected before, during and after the classroom implementation by observations, video

recordings, interviews and analyses. The initial results of incorporating history of science material in natural sciences

within the CHAT context seem promising. Using elements from the history of science proved a useful tool in order to design

science education activities. During the practical application of the activities, pupils realized that construction of

scientific concepts is a collective procedure within the evolution of human culture. They found out that the alternative

ideas they have about natural concepts and phenomena were also expressed by famous scientists. By using basic principles

of CHAT in classroom situations we contribute to the establishment of science education as participation in the community,

as well as a new ontology and epistemology in teaching scientific concepts.

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World Journal of Education
ISSN 1925-0746(Print)  ISSN 1925-0754(Online)

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