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Science through drama: a multiple case exploration of the characteristics of drama activities used in secondary science lessons

[journal article]

Dorion, Kirk Robert

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Abstract Over twenty years of research into the use of cross curricular drama in secondary Science has indicated that this medium enables learning of affective, cognitive and procedural knowledge. To date, academic research has tended to frame successful drama pedagogy as resulting from a Drama-in-Education approach, incorporating extended role plays and simulations of social events. By contrast, research has rarely focused on the scope and context of drama which is devised and used by 'real people in real situations' (Cohen et al. 2000). Indications from non-academic literature and informal education practice suggest that there is a gap in our knowledge between research and classroom practise. This study focussed on teachers' own drama activities in five Science lessons taught across schools in Cambridge, Kent, and Hertfordshire. Their classes spanned the ages of 12-16 in the subjects of Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. This study explored the drama forms, teaching objectives, and characteristics by which drama was perceived to enable learning in Science. The findings revealed that drama activities were used to convey a variety of topics that have not yet been recorded in academic literature, and revealed a greater scope for the teaching abstract scientific concepts through mime and role play. These activities were perceived to develop students’ visualisation through a range of modalities, which included embodied sensation and anthropomorphic metaphors. Some features reflected the development of Thought Experiment skills. A pedagogic model was produced based on different levels of interactive talk and multimodal communication.
Keywords drama
Classification Curriculum, Teaching, Didactics
Free Keywords learning activities; model-based learning; science education; secondary school; visualization; role play; physical simulation
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 2247-2270
Journal International Journal of Science Education, 31 (2009) 16
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)