Implementing the process of science concept development in early childhood education through young children's learning of living and nonliving things: An action research

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Exploring of the science concept development and change in young children has been a neglected area in most of the developing countries. Research in the developed world indicates that many children do not have a scientific understanding of such concepts like; energy, force, motion and living nonliving things, even by the age of 10 years. The purpose of this study was to explore and to develop young children's (age 3 to 5 years) learning of the concept of living and nonliving things in one of the private schools in Karachi. This exploratory research used the action research approach and qualitative data collection methods like classroom observations, and interviews to investigate the process of conceptual development and change students' learning about living and nonliving things. During explorations most of the students were found to think about living and non living things in a nonscientific way like every moving thing is living and when living things is in pictorial form students consider it nonliving. Students' ideas and understanding about living and nonliving things were limited to their daily life observations and experiences. The study involved classroom teaching over the 6-week lessons of teaching the concept living and nonliving things'. A small group of six students was focused during the study to find out changes in the process of conceptual development. The predominant changes were development of scientific terminology and improvement in the use of criteria for explaining living and nonliving things. The social set up of the classroom and the teaching strategies based on explorations, problem-solving, and hands-and minds-on experiences helped the students to learn in a better way. Students having some prior understanding of the concept of living and nonliving things were identified as being able to benefit from classroom instruction. However, the students who had no prior understanding of the concept were found least able to develop the concept. The study also discusses the factors related to classroom practices of the teachers' that facilitate or hinder the process of scientific concept development and change. Recommendations were made for teaching that the teaching instructions should focus on conceptual development and change rather than enrichment of knowledge alone.

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