Naturvetenskap i tillblivelse : Barns meningsskapande kring biologisk mångfald och en hållbar framtid

Sammanfattning: The objective of this thesis is to analyze children’s meaning making processes in science related to environment and sustainability at the pre-school level. This thesis examines an approach to early childhood education which is conceptualized by an explorative as well as a listening approach that specifically addresses children’s questions. The purpose is to create knowledge on how the processes develop and what specific science related content that emerges. All studies are based on a Deweyan pragmatic perspective. Study 1 “logs in” to the debate on children’s possibilities to become “agents for change” and contributing to positive changes for the environment. The results reveal that the children’s positive and negative aesthetic utterances have significance for how the process develops and is being fulfilled. The contextual aspects are imperative both for the content and for the choices the children make along the course of actions. Study 2 examines children exploring animals in a pre-school project concerning biodiversity.  Initially, the results reveal that the organisms’ appearances and movements received morphological and physiological explanations. Further on, knowledge was gained in a manner which has similarities to ecological and evolutionary ways of explaining biological phenomena. Study 3 takes departure from the discussion on the fact that sustainability related problems often are unstructured, multifaceted and conceptualized as “wicked”. The study examines how the process of imagination comes into play when children explore a sustainability related problem that is important to them. The results reveal that creative solutions come into existence when blending various experiences.  Study 4 investigates how children raise and answer science related questions by non-verbal actions. The results expose that non-verbal actions serve as inquiry, comparative systematics, visualization, question-generators as well as a public and self-reflective communication.