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    Explores concepts of physical, material and biological sciences in the context of children’s toys, games and play.

    This paper is largely practical, and students learn how to include types of energies, forces, nature of science and play in toys - many of which are made in class.

    About this paper

    Paper title Children, Science and Play
    Subject Education
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $912.00
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    EDUO 173

    The class is designed primarily to support the development of student teachers in the primary and ECE undergraduate programmes within the College of Education. It does actively include those undertaking Early Childhood Education and would be beneficial to anyone with an interest in how and why children should play.

    Enrolments for this paper are limited and require departmental permission.
    View more information about limitations of enrolment.

    Teaching staff

    Paper Co-ordinator: Dr Steven Sexton (Dunedin)

    Paper Structure

    The paper is predominantly hands-on, with students making and creating many of the activities used in class. Topics include:

    • Materials play
    • Moving-things play
    • Air play
    • Playground play
    • Water play
    • Living-world play
    • Electricity-and-magnets play
    • Light-and-colour play
    • Sound play
    • Natural-world play
    • Computer-based animations/interactives
    • Toys and games of the early Māori

    There are two internal assessments:

    • A toy construction assessment
    • Resource Test (in-class)
    Teaching Arrangements

    There is a two-week gap when the College of Education students are on teaching placement - normally in April/May.


    Textbooks are not required for this paper.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Self-motivation.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    1. Investigate physical phenomena, such as forces and energy in children's toys, games and play
    2. Investigate the nature and properties of materials used in children's toys, games and play
    3. Investigate the living world through children's toys, games and play
    4. Recognise the natural environment as a context for developing scientific understanding through children's toys, games and play


    Not offered in 2023

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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