Ways Children Reason About Science and Religion in Primary School: Findings from a Small-Scale Study in Australian Primary Schools

  • Berry Billingsley
  • Sharon FraserEmail author
Part of the Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education book series (CTISE, volume 48)


Across countries and throughout society, it is not uncommon to find individuals espousing incompatible and/or immovable positions in regard the perceived duality between science and religion. Many scholars in these domains propose other ways of thinking about science and religion, arguing for more nuanced understandings about how they might relate to each other. Children can be exposed to elements of either ‘side’ of such debate in their home life which may or may not include faith-based instruction, through the media and throughout their schooling. Few teachers are likely to have the in-depth understanding and the confidence to help their students to appreciate that there is a range of ways of thinking about how science and religion relate including positive ways. Having an insight into student’s initial ideas is a key step in developing the confidence and understanding needed to engage with the issues they raise or that emerge in their education. This chapter reports on research undertaken collaboratively by researchers from the University of Reading, UK, and the University of Tasmania, Australia, looking at ways in which primary (year 6) students perceive science and religion and the relationship between them. The research highlights particular challenges faced by teachers in Australian schools who are required to teach science and address students’ doubts about religion and its relationship with science.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)Canterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK
  2. 2.College of Arts, Law and Education (CALE)University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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