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The roles of aesthetic experience in elementary school science
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Education in Mathematics and Science.
Responsible organisation
2008 In: Research in Science Education, ISSN 0157-244X, Vol. 38, no 1, 45-65 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 38, no 1, 45-65 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25434OAI: diva2:199712
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8160Available from: 2008-09-11 Created: 2008-09-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Learning Science Through Aesthetic Experience in Elementary School: Aesthetic Judgement, Metaphor and Art
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learning Science Through Aesthetic Experience in Elementary School: Aesthetic Judgement, Metaphor and Art
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis considers the role of aesthetic meaning-making in elementary school science learning. Children’s aesthetic experiences are traced through their use of aesthetic judgements, spontaneous metaphors and art activities. The thesis is based on four empirical studies: the first two examining children’s language use, i.e. the role of aesthetic judgements and the significance of spontaneous metaphors while learning science and the latter two dealing with how art activities mediate what elementary school children learn in science and what a variety of art activities with different purposes afford elementary school children to learn in science.

The theoretical stance emanates from pragmatist theories and includes Dewey’s definition of an aesthetic experience, Wittgenstein’s later work on language-games, and socio-cultural perspectives. The analytic approach used is a practical epistemology analysis developed by Wickman and Östman. The empirical data consists of audio- and video recordings of elementary school children’s (aged 6–10 years) discussions in pairs or small groups during science lessons and photographs of children’s pictures, sculptures and poems from a total of 14 different elementary school classes.

The main findings of the empirical studies show how aesthetic meaning-making is continuous with elementary school children’s scientific learning. The thesis shows how elementary school children’s aesthetic experiences are related to whole activities and are crucial for the direction that learning takes. Aesthetic experience is important in terms of how and what elementary school children learn aesthetically and normatively in science class, which has consequences for cognitive learning, the possibility of participating in science class and learning the genre of science. Moreover, it can be seen how children’s prior experiences are recurrently reconstructed and transformed through imaginative processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för utbildningsvetenskap med inriktning mot matematik och naturvetenskap, 2008. 190 p.
aesthetic experience, aesthetic judgement, art activities, continuity, Dewey, elementary school, imagination, learning, meaning-making, practical epistemology analysis, reconstruction, science, spontaneous metaphors, transformation, Wittgenstein.
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8160 (URN)978-91-7155-654-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-10-03, Tillbergsalen A, Campus Konradsberg, hus T, Rålambsvägen 32, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2008-09-11 Created: 2008-09-11 Last updated: 2014-03-17Bibliographically approved

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