Wealth from waste: Problems and possibilities of developing and using low cost/no cost teaching materials in primary science classroom

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Studies regarding the teaching of science in primary schools in Pakistan especially in the rural context show that students are being prepared just for passing examination by memorizing facts from the text books. However according to research findings, learning is an active process. Children learn by interaction with their environment; they observe, explore, and solve problems related to everyday life. The limited instructional resources is one factor which hinders active learning. With resources becoming increasingly more expensive it is however, essential to use low cost no cost LC/NC teaching materials from the local environment. Even though the environment is rich in resources for the major science topics related to primary science, teachers do not bring these into the classroom or take children outdoors. The purpose of this study was to explore some of the constraints and possibilities of developing and using low cost/ no cost teaching materials in the teaching of science in primary schools to overcome the lack of teaching materials in primary schools. This study was done in a private primary school. The research sample comprised three primary school teachers. One of them was untrained and two had taken a visiting teachers (VT) course at the IED. These teachers teach science in three different sections grade 5. The approach adopted in this study was qualitative in nature. I tried to become a part of the situation where teachers worked, for seven weeks in order to be able to explore the difficulties they face and the possibilities that could be identified for using LC/NC materials. I used a variety of techniques to collect my data: observations, interviews, and maintaining researcher's reflective journal. Going through the data collected, I identified some of the impeding factors that hinder teachers from using low cost/no cost teaching materials in their science classrooms: teachers lack of content knowledge and ideas, classroom management skills, planning time, and medium of instruction. Some possibilities to overcome some of these constraints are suggested, e.g., team work, follow up and encouragement of teachers' work, and creating a supportive environment by the heads schools. These factors may help teachers to appreciate the value of low cost/no cost materials in the primary science classrooms. Some impeding factors such as time, unexpected holidays to some extent affected the study.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library