Research in Science Education

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 99–116 | Cite as

Science Students Creating Hybrid Spaces when Engaging in an Expo Investigation Project

  • Umesh Ramnarain
  • Josef de Beer


In this paper, we report on the experiences of three 9th-grade South African students (13–14 years) in doing open science investigation projects for a science expo. A particular focus of this study was the manner in which these students merge the world of school science with their social world to create a hybrid space by appropriating knowledge and resources of the school and home. Within this hybrid space they experienced a deeper, more meaningful and authentic engagement in science practical work. This hybrid space redefined the landscape of the science learning experience for these students, as they could derive the twofold benefit of appropriating support when necessary and at the same time maintain their autonomy over the investigation. For South Africa and quite probably other countries; these findings serve as a guideline as to how opportunities can be created for students to do open science investigations, against prevailing school factors such as large classes, a lack of physical resources, the lack of time for practical work and the demands of syllabus coverage.


Third space Hybrid space Science practical work Science investigations Science projects Science expo 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics, Science, Technology and Computer Education, Faculty of Education, Auckland Park Kingsway CampusUniversity of JohannesburgAuckland ParkSouth Africa

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