April 2008
(Volume 11, Number 2)
ISSN  1449-2091

Michael Michie

Tiwi designs by Jennifer Coombs
Munupi Arts & Crafts Association,
Pirlangimpi, Melville Island, NT

Indigenous Science Links





Primary Connections incorporating Indigenous perspectives

 Implementation of the Primary Connections Indigenous perspectives framework and publication of the stage 2 unit, Plants in action incorporating Indigenous perspectives follows the successful ‘pilot’ of the Indigenous perspective in several Western Australian schools in Term 4, last year. Results and photographs from the ‘pilot’ are reported on page 12 of the latest Academy of Science newsletter:

The Primary Connections Indigenous perspective framework comprises a teaching and learning guide; curriculum unit links to relevant Indigenous perspectives; and a professional learning module to support teachers’ development and implementation of relevant, contextualised curriculum with embedded Indigenous perspectives.

What is in the ‘Science with an Aboriginal Perspective’ Show?

The Jollybops Science Show presents –  Science with an Aboriginal Perspective – ‘Flight, Sound and Fire’

Before the show starts

Every shows begins with an ‘Acknowledgement of Country (Given by Jollybops Scientist and Presenter, Trevor Atkinson . Local elders have the right to give a Welcome to Country. AECG and members of the local community have the right attend the show and The Jollybops Science Show Presenters will warmly welcome  them.

Student Participation and Humour
Student Participation – At least 20 students are asked to join The Jollybops presenters
on stage during this show. Including Aboriginal Boys who can play Didgeridoo are invited to bring them along and play. Local Elders, AECG and members of the local community can be invited to attend, at the schools invitation.

 Humor – Comic interplay between The Jolly Professor and Rustie the Robot is the cornerstone of all The Jollybops Science Shows. This show is no different. The links between humour and learning is indisputable. Science jokes, play on words and  humorous slapstick, make this show fun to watch and helps make the science more memorable.


Science Content

The show essentially examines these 3 areas of science, with an Indigenous Perspective.

The Science of Flight – The Boomerang – students would look at the boomerang and l
ink to a plane wing.  (the science of how the wing works- Bernoulli Effect – fast moving air makes things lift – A garden blower with a toilet paper roll attached quite humorously demonstrates this)  The Boomerang was the first man made flying machine and was an ingenious invention which should be recognized in Western Perspective Science books.
Students would learn about the science of the aerofoil and 3 volunteers would attempt to throw soft boomerangs indoors. Students also learn about different types of Boomerangs (hook, killer, stone, non returning-etc) and what they are used for in Traditional Indigenous Communities. Students would also learn about contemporary flight looking at such concepts as streamlining, balloon helicopters (how air makes things move) and remote control flying saucer.

Sound Energy/The Science of the Didgeridoo – molecules of air that are moving essentially cause sound energy.
This part of the show would examine the science behind the Didgeridoo. The Didgeridoo (Yardaki) is one of the most complex musical instruments ever created in as far as the complexity of the sound. This would be discussed. Three boys (only boys play Didgeridoo in Aboriginal Culture) selected from the audience will attempt to play.
Sound Energy would be further examined by discussing and demonstrating the science of sound by the  simple  3 cups off the head demonstration (three girl student ‘models’ participate) A loud explosion demonstrated by a small, safe hydrogen balloon, is used to explain dramatically what sound energy is.(moving air) . Why we can’t hear sound in space is explained (NO AIR)

3.       Science of Fire – The show would also examine the deep understanding that Indigenous Australians have of fire as a land management tool. Many of the traditional fire management techniques are still used in places like Uluru - Kata Tjuta   National Park , to control backburning. It is estimated that over 60% of natural vegetation is saved from bushfires each year because of this knowledge. Students are shown Dry Ice which produces carbon dioxide. A couple of short experiments where a coffee tin lid explodes off a coffee tin demonstrates quite humorously and effectively how Aboriginal People in the Northern Territory are ‘keeping a lid’ on Greenhouse Gases. This has dramatically decreased carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases. See and search for Aboriginal land management in the NT.
Students would then learn about the actual science of fire-the 3 ingredients needed for fire to exist include oxygen, fuel and heat. A short experiment using a Bunsen burner, tripod, evaporating dish and eucalyptus oil, demonstrates why Eucalyptus trees are so flammable in a bushfire.  Fire safety message is predominant. Danger of playing with fire is constantly reinforced. In the 3-6 and Years 7 to 8 show, Rustie the Robot (Performer Mark Nicholl has led circus schools and has been a professional juggler for 15 years) juggles 3 fire clubs.

4.       Traditional Aboriginal Instruments- Students listen to Rusty the Robot sing and play guitar (live). The song “Raining on the Rock” a song about Uluru, written by John Williamson. The song has a great feel and an excellent line ‘I am proud to travel this great land like an Aborigine’. Seven students will also accompany along on rainsticks and clapsticks. ( All audience members are encouraged to sing along)  These are two examples of traditional Indigenous instruments where sound energy is occurring. Music and Song has, and continues to play an important   important role in the world’s oldest, living culture.

5.       Students learn about the inventions of the famous Aboriginal Scientist, David Unaipon. He invented the handshears for shearing sheep and also drew sketches of a Helicopter in 1914, 16 years before it received a patent in 1930. Unaipon has been called Australia’s’ Leonardo Da Vinci’. Who knows what David Unaipon (and others) could have achieved if Aboriginal People/Scientists had the same opportunities, as others in this part of the century?

Please note well, the show is a science show, not an Indigenous Cultural Show. The Jollybops Science Shows feel deeply priveleged to be able to share these aspects of Indigenous Science with primary school audiences throughout Australia.See (Submitted by Mark Nicholl)


New issue L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature

Science Literacy for All Students: Language, Culture, and Knowledge about Nature and Naturally Occurring Events A special issue guest edited by Larry Yore (Canada), Pauline Chinn (Hawaii) & Brian Hand (USA)   

Click for complete issue:  vol 8, issue 1, L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature <;repository=1&amp;string=vol%208%2C%20issue%201>    


Yore, L.D, Chinn, P.W. U & Hand, B. (2008). Editorial. Science literacy for all: influences of culture, language, and knowledge about nature and naturally occurring events. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8 (1), p. 1-3.
Yore, L.D. (2008). Science literacy for all students: Language, culture, and knowledge about nature and naturally occurring events. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8 (1), p. 5-21

ABSTRACT. It is important that the first, native, home, or mother tongue language (L1), cultural and personal beliefs, ontological assumptions, and epistemological beliefs of students be explicitly considered in teaching and learning environments where a different language of instruction (L2) and an English-dominated scientific enterprise (L3) are commonplace. Teaching in today’s multicultural classrooms in most countries requires understanding of the three-language issue. Research inquiries into language, literacy, and science issues must consider the values, beliefs, and practices and the traditional knowledge about nature and naturally occurring events embedded in language and culture. This introductory piece provides a reference frame for the roles of the nature of western science, language, and culture for these considerations in an attempt to produce insights for culturally sensitive curricula and effective constructivist teaching. Some authors will question the explicit and implicit values of western science as outlined here, which is the central purpose of this special issue. Cultural restoration, environmental literacy to survive, and other priorities are competing goals with acculturation into western science discourse communities for some peoples.

KEYWORDS: epistemology, nature of western science, ontology, science literacy, scientific language/discourse

Rivard, L.P, & Cormier, M. (2008). Teaching science to French-speaking students in English Canada using an instructional congruence model involving discourse-enabling strategies. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8 (1), p. 23-41 <;repository=1&amp;article=214>

ABSTRACT. Outside the province of Quebec in Canada, most Francophones live in a minority-language context in which English dominates the linguistic and cultural landscape. In North America and the world, the English language has become the lingua franca of the scientific community and of society, generally. Enhancing the teaching of science for Francophones will require providing a rich array of discursive opportunities in the minority language while moving students from contextualised to de-contextualised language. Cormier (2004) developed a model for teaching science to minority Francophone students where reading, talking, and writing are core activities. The authors present a revised model that better addresses the needs of all linguistic minority learners in the science classroom.

KEYWORDS: academic language, francophone, identity, instructional congruence, linguistic insecurity

Bryan, L.A., & Allexsaht-Snider, M. (2008). Community and classroom contexts for understanding nature and naturally occurring events in rural schools in Mexico. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8(1), p. 43-68. <;repository=1&amp;article=215>

ABSTRACT. In this study, we develop a portrait of how teachers in two, rural Mexican, multi-age classrooms (grades 1-6) deliberately situate science instruction within the local community and teach social discourse practices to mediate their students’ transitions between science, school, and community settings. One important means of social mediation was the teachers’ commitment to constructing authentic contexts for instruction. In addition, both teachers facilitated the learning of three sets of social discourse practices that are integral to science teaching and learning: responsibility and autonomy, cross-age interaction and collaboration, and public performance. The social discourse practices that we observed in these classrooms can be seen as potential foundations for engaging in culturally responsive, inquiry-based, science instruction grounded in the ways of learning science that many Mexican immigrant students are likely to have encountered.

KEYWORDS: elementary science, social discourse practices, rural Mexican schools

Fakudze, C., & Rollnick, M. (2008). Language, culture, ontological assumptions, epistemological beliefs, and knowledge about nature and naturally occurring events: Southern African perspective. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8 (1), p. 69-94. <;repository=1&amp;article=216>

ABSTRACT. African students enter the classroom with a rich heritage of traditional beliefs that, if handled sensitively and with understanding, can play an important role in enabling learning of science. Recent developments in the understanding of how students acquire this knowledge may assist in promoting this process. This paper investigates studies situated within the worldview theory that examine the learning of science concepts within a Southern African sociocultural environment by looking at (a) the problems and solutions for students in such settings when they learn through a medium of instruction (L2 and L3) that is different from their first language (L1), (b) the nature of the worldview presuppositions held by African students on selected natural phenomena, and (c) the nature of cognitive border crossing exhibited by students from a Southern African traditional worldview to a western scientific worldview that forms the basis of a Cognitive Border Crossing Learning Model (CBCLM). Two important issues are explored in relation to the language issue: using a discourse-based model to show how accessing either spoken or written mixed discourse may facilitate learners’ comprehension of scientific discourse and allow a teacher to assist in its production, and how code switching is a useful strategy to assist border crossing in the science classroom. The CBCLM is presented as a feasible way of describing how, when, and in what contexts a student shifts from one worldview to another during the learning process.

KEYWORDS: code switching, cognitive border crossing, cultural border crossing, border crossing, collateral learning, culture, language, science, worldview.

Guo, C.-J. (2008). Science learning in the contexts of culture and language practices: Taiwanese perspective. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8 (1), p. 95-107 <;repository=1&amp;article=217>

ABSTRACT. This paper describes the cultural and linguistic practices in modern Taiwan and how these attributes and the current educational traditions and expectations influence students’ science learning. Taiwan is a multicultural, not monocultural, country bound together by a common written language system. An examination of the traditional Chinese and indigenous cultural and language practices indicated that the habits of mind of traditional Chinese philosophers tend to be intuitive, metaphorical, descriptive, and holistic in contrast to the rational, causal, analytical, and reductive ways of thinking that are emphasized in western science. In addition, there are distinctive features of Chinese words and cultural beliefs that are likely to have impacts on students’ learning of science. In view of the way science instruction is typically delivered in Taiwanese schools, implications of the above points on science education research and science instruction are also briefly mentioned.

KEYWORDS: culture, language, science learning, Taiwan

Snively, G.J., & Williams, L.B. (2008). “Coming to Know”: Weaving Aboriginal and western science knowledge, language, and literacy into the science classroom. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8 (1), p. 109-133 <;repository=1&amp;article=218>

ABSTRACT. Following the work of contemporary thinkers, we propose that every culture has its own science and that both indigenous and western science knowledge systems are valuable and have been useful to the cultures developing them. Because a valid interpretation of scientific literacy must be consistent with a prevailing image of science and rapid changes taking place in society, we propose more inclusive definitions and metaphors of science literacy. Science literacy for Aboriginal people must reflect a broad cultural approach that recognizes the unique way Aboriginal people live and present their experience and knowledge. Literacy programs from an Aboriginal perspective must go beyond reading, writing, and numeracy to include oracy — stories, songs, dances, symbols, ceremonies. Science literacy from an Aboriginal perspective involves being knowledgeable about the extensive examples and applications of Aboriginal science knowledge, as well as western science knowledge, and science discourse about the nature of science. Literacy also includes the wisdom component of Aboriginal science, which brings the discussion of values and ethics to science and technology and requires sustaining both community and environment. Aboriginal languages serve as storehouses of experience and perspectives that help maintain cultural identity, resist assimilation, and interpret the relationship between society and environment.

KEYWORDS: Aboriginal, culture, language, science, traditional ecological knowledge

McKingley, E., & Keegan, P.J. (2008). Curriculum and language in Aotearoa New Zealand: From science to Putaiao. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8 (1), p. 135-147 <;repository=1&amp;article=219>

ABSTRACT. What becomes of knowledge when a language has been displaced through colonisation and is being recovered and revitalized? In the 1970s in Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand), Maori began teaching their children through the medium of te reo Maori (Maori language) (L1) in an attempt to save it from extinction. This paper explores the translation work in relation to a new technical language development (L3) based on the language of instruction (L2) for a new Maori language science curriculum (putaiao). We argue that the development of new terminology, no matter how culturally sensitive the process is, creates new problems. First, the new words can be perceived as representing traditional knowledge and, secondly, traditional Maori knowledge will be erased with the new language. The challenge presented to all concerned is how students will develop a more authentic experience of Maori language, knowledge and culture. The paper argues that the journey between science and putaiao is an ongoing transformation based on language and the epistemology held within and is made more complex by the relationships that exist between L1 (home), L2 (school), and L3 (discipline specific) in a language revitalization context.

KEYWORDS: curriculum, indigenous L2 education, Maori-medium education, Maori science, putaiao, science education

Chinn, P.W.U., Hand, B., & Yore, L.D. (2008). Culture, language, knowledge about nature and naturally occurring events, and science literacy for all: She says, he says, they say . L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 8 (1), p. 149-171. <;repository=1&amp;article=220>

ABSTRACT. Pauline Chinn and Brian Hand, both well-established science educators interested in the role that language plays in doing and learning science but with distinctly different stances, provide a glimpse into an ongoing conversation and deliberation over 18 months about what does it mean to come to know in science and how does this concept of science translate into pedagogical practices. Larry Yore moderates and promotes these conversations and deliberations to help identify intersections and shared understandings and to contrast areas of differences and disagreements. These professional reflections on their critical thinking and fundamental assumptions about culture, language, and knowledge about nature and naturally occurring events demonstrate the necessary and essential processes required to move the science literacy for all agenda forward. They share their fundamental stances and perspective about sociopolitical issues, postcolonial stances, science, and schooling without being sidetracked from their purpose to inform and increase awareness about the critical issues in science literacy for all. Their conversations and insights may well be equally informative and empowering to students from majority and minority cultures, since all learners appear to be second language learners when it comes to science language, linguistic devices, and discourse patterns.

KEYWORDS: effective curriculum and instruction, pedagogy, science literacy for all, ways of knowing


The University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 3-6 June 2008

The International Conference on Learning is for any person with an interest in, and concern for, education at any of its level - from early childhood, to schools, to higher education - and lifelong learning in any of its sites, from home to school to university to the workplace.

Main speakers include James R. Gavelek, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Juana M. Sancho Gil, Educational Technology Professor at the University of Barcelona; Susan R. Goldman, Chair of the Governing Board of the Society for Text and Discourse; Fernando Hernandez, Professor in the Unit of Art Education at the Fine Arts Faculty of the University of Barcelona; James W. Pellegrino, Distinguished Professor in Psychology and Education and Co-Director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Salim Vally, Senior Researcher at the Education Policy Unit, School of Education, University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.

The Conference will also include numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by practitioners, teachers and researchers. We would particularly like to invite you to respond to the Conference Call-for-Papers. Presenters may choose to submit written papers for publication in the fully refereed International Journal of Learning. If you are unable to attend the Conference in person, virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for refereeing and possible publication in this fully refereed academic Journal, as well as access to the electronic version of the Conference proceedings.

The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 13 March 2008. Proposals are reviewed within two weeks of submission. Full details of the Conference, including an online proposal submission form, are to be found at the Conference website -

ASERA 2008.

39th Conference 2nd to 5th July 2008

Rydges Hotel, South Bank, Brisbane, QLD. Australia

Researchers are invited to submit an abstract for their 2008 ASERA paper by April 18, 2008 to This Word document should include the title, names of authors and their affiliated institutions, and a brief abstract of no more than 200 words. Abstracts will only be included in the program if registration and payment documents are received by May 23, 2008.

International researchers who need their proposal to be refereed for funding purposes, please send a four-page proposal to Dr Greg Thomas, at the University of Alberta, Canada as well as submitting the abstract to asera. Greg's email address is: The proposal should include the purpose of the study, research questions, methods, results, discussion, conclusion where appropriate.

Please refer to Annual Conference, 2008 tabs for more detailed information leading up to the conference. The new ASERA webpage can be located at: .

Monash University Centre, Prato, Tuscany, Italy, 22-25 July 2008

The International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences examines the nature of disciplinary practices, and the interdisciplinary practices that arise in the context of 'real world' applications. It also interrogates what constitutes 'science' in a social context, and the connections between the social and other sciences.

Main speakers include Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; and Constantine Skordoulis, Professor of Physics and Epistemology of Natural Sciences in the Department of Education at the University of Athens, Greece. The Conference will also include numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by practitioners, teachers and researchers. We would particularly like to invite you to respond to the Conference Call-for-Papers. Presenters may choose to submit written papers for publication in the fully refereed International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. If you are unable to attend the Conference in person, virtual registrations are also available which allow you to submit a paper for refereeing and possible publication in this fully refereed academic Journal, as well as access to the electronic version of the Conference proceedings.

The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 31 March 2008. Proposals are reviewed within two weeks of submission. Full details of the Conference, including an online proposal submission form, are to be found at the Conference website -

13th IOSTE Symposium
21-26 September 2008, Izmir, Turkey

XIII. IOSTE Symposium will be held in Izmir in Turkey by Faculty of Buca Education of Dokuz Eylul University. The symposium theme for XIII.IOSTE is "The use of science and technology education for peace and sustainable development".

XIII. IOSTE Symposium is the symposium of the International Organization for Science and Technology Education (IOSTE). IOSTE was established to advance the cause of education in science and technology as a vital part of the general education of the peoples of all countries and to provide scholarly exchange and discussion in the field of science and technology education. Consistent with our mission to encourage the peaceful and ethical use of science and technology in the service of humankind, IOSTE opposes the use of science and technology by government or other organizations for military purposes against civilians.

XIII. IOSTE symposium will promote the development and dissemination of theoretical knowledge, conceptual research, and professional practice knowledge on science and technology education. You are invited to attend and participate in this international symposium which offers great opportunities to share your ideas, explore the research, development, and applications, and to network with the leaders in this important field of science and technology education.


This is mostly a summary of upcoming conferences. More details may have been given above or in previous bulletins as shown. A web-based contact is usually included. Inclusion of conferences in this list is not to be read as an endorsement of the conference.


April 2008

20-25 April: 28th Annual Seminar of the International Society for Teacher Education (ISTE), University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia. (Dec07)

May 2008

16-18 May: The Global Studies Conference,   University of Illinois, Chicago, (Feb08)

June 2008

17-20 June: Eighth International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and  Nations, HEC (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales), University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, (Dec07)

July 2008

2-5 July: Australasian Science Education Research Association, Brisbane Qld  (Aug07)

6-11 July: Australian Science Teachers Association, CONASTA57, Griffith University Gold Coast, Qld

9-12 July: Australian Association for Environmental Education, "Environmental education up the Track: Hot topics for our community", Darwin NT. (Aug07)

15-18 July: Sixth International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities, Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey, (Dec07)

22-25 July: Third International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Monash University Centre, Prato, Tuscany, Italy, (April07)

September 2008

19-22 September: TSCF 2008 International Social Capital Conference, "Perspectives on Social Capital and Social Inclusion", Buggiba, Malta. (Dec07)

21-26 September: 13th IOSTE Symposium, "The use of science and technology education for peace and sustainable development". Izmir, Turkey (April08)

December 2008

7-11 December: World Indigenous People's Conference on Education (WIPCE 2008), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


January 2009

5-9 January: epiSTEME-3: Third international conference to review research on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education. Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (TIFR), Mumbai, India. (Feb08)

5-7 January: Fifth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, University of Technology, Mauritius, (Feb08)

July 2009

ASERA, Deakin University, Victoria. Dates and venue to be decided.


July 2010

ASERA, University of Newcastle (NSW). Dates and venue to be decided.

Last updated: 1 April 2008