Cooperative learning science groups (CLSGs) in science inquiries

Kuen Hing Justina IP, Wing Mui Winnie SO

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


This study examines how teachers can facilitate the use of cooperative learning in the teaching of science. The use of group work in science lessons has both practical and pedagogic underpinnings. The practical consideration relates to the almost impossibility of supplying science apparatus on a one-to-one basis, while the pedagogical consideration relates to the support of conceptual understanding in science by discussing, debating, and defending ideas during group work among students. It is therefore reasonable for teachers to form Cooperative Learning Science Groups (CLSG) to promote the kind of interchange and teamwork essential for scientific inquiry. However, the CLSGs do not function automatically. Teacher scaffolding and the incorporation of the framework of cooperative learning for science learning are salient to accomplish CLSGs. The teacher scaffolding mainly relies on the design of the science inquiry activities to facilitate discussion of ideas among students, and the framework of cooperative learning includes various structures of cooperative learning and group process roles. This study examined three research issues: a) how scaffolding facilitates discussion of ideas in science inquiries in the CLSGs, b) what framework of cooperative learning facilitates the function of CLSGs at the different stages of primary science education, and c) obstacles that arise in implementing CLSGs in science inquiries. The findings provide insight into the strengths and limitations of using cooperative learning in science inquiries, and have potential in translating research insights into practical advice for teachers regarding cooperative learning in science inquiries.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Ip, J., & So, W. (2008, June). Cooperative learning science groups (CLSGs) in science inquiries. Paper presented at the Cooperative Learning in Japan & the World: Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of IASCE, Nagoya, Japan.


  • Primary Education
  • Development of Subject Knowledge
  • Science


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