Threshold concepts in primary school maths and science: An investigation of some underlying ideas of STEM

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Threshold concepts are those which are characteristic of the discipline, and without which students are able to make only limited progress in developing disciplinary ways of thinking. They are characterised by being: transformative, in that once understood, they result in a significant shift in the perception of a subject; irreversible, in that the change of perspective is unlikely to be forgotten; integrative; in that they expose the previously hidden relatedness of ideas; bounded, in that they open up new conceptual spaces, and; potentially troublesome, in that they are hard to acquire. This chapter examines curriculum resources from the Primary Connections and reSolve: Maths by Inquiry projects and proposes some threshold concepts in primary mathematics and science. The identification of threshold concepts is important for the research community, for educational designers and for teachers as explicit attention to the concepts may help to address the misconceptions that often lie at the heart of the troublesomeness of concepts encountered in higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSTEM education across the learning continuum
Subtitle of host publicationEarly childhood to senior secondary
EditorsAmy MacDonald, Lena Danaia, Steve Murphy
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789811528217
ISBN (Print)9789811528200
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2020


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