Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education (Honours) BEd (Hons)





First Advisor

Dr. Kevin de Berg


0299 OTHER PHYSICAL SCIENCES, 13 EDUCATION, 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy


Students enter the science classroom having already constructed ideas about the world around them and how it functions based on their interactions with it. They do not enter the classroom as 'empty vessels'. In this study, twenty one grade six students participated in focus group interviews and individual interviews based around simple demonstrations and scenarios posed on flash cards in relation to the concepts of force and motion. Seven of these students also participated in practical activity sessions centred on the inclined plane apparatus. The findings of this study suggest that the students share a number, but not all, of the conceptions about force and motion outlined in the literature, which was largely focused on secondary and tertiary-aged students. Demonstrations involving magnetism and static electricity were found to be useful for introducing the idea of a force as a push or a pull. This study suggests that the concepts of contact and non-contact forces are suitable for introduction at this stage. However, the concepts of net force and momentum were found to be too complex for students in this study. A thorough examination of the transcripts uncovered points of high productivity in the dialogue which could act as 'signatures for cognitive growth'. These episodes include analogical reasoning, in-depth questioning, hypothesis generation and experimentation by the students. From the results of this study, a series of six lesson plans has been created to more effectively introduce the concepts of force and motion to upper primary school children.


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A print copy of this thesis is held in the Avondale College Library (SC Theses 372.35 C23).