Open Access Library Journal
Vol.02 No.11(2015), Article ID:68863,15 pages

Developing Thinking Skills among Third Grade (Class 4) Pupils in Some Elementary Practising Schools in Edéa, Cameroon Using Lessons on the Human Skeleton

Jeannette Mothia1, Emmanuel Noumi2*, George Nditafon1

1Didactics of Biology, Faculty of Sciences of Education, Postgraduate Centre for Training and Research in Human, Social and Educational Sciences, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon

2Laboratory of Plant Biology, Higher Teachers’ Training College, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon

Copyright © 2015 by authors and OALib.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).

Received 27 October 2015; accepted 11 November 2015; published 16 November 2015


The objective of this study was to introduce an educational tool in primary school that could facilitate the development of thinking skills in learners. Klopfer’s taxonomy of educational objectives was used to introduce the fundamental notion of the hypothetico-deductive theory aimed at immersing the class into task situations of identifying the educational aspects in a lesson. A total of 270 Class 4 (third graders) participated in the study. Result revealed that at the pretest, the mean performance of those in the control group was 9.53/20 and for those in the experimental group it was 9.09/20. Up to one month following experimentation, pupils in the experimental group registered an improved mean performance (11.33/20) in the posttest, while the control group registered a drop (8.84/20) compared to their mean pretest performances. Those in the experimental group further showed greater interest and involvement in the construction of their knowledge and thinking skill compared to those in the control group. The approach appeared to be beneficial to both pupils and teachers. It places learners in a teaching/learning situation that motivates the development of thinking and problem-solving skills.


Educational Resources, Didactics of Life and Earth Sciences, Learning Thinking Skills, Human Skeleton

Subject Area: Education

1. Introduction

The objective of any educational policy has always been the quest for quality education to ensure learner’s harmonious integration into society thereafter. Nowadays many teaching/learning actions suffer from serious insufficiency due to perpetual mutations in life situations (economic, cultural, environmental and political) [1] - [4] . The teaching of the sciences and scientific education are in crisis [5] . The pupils receive an impressive amount of knowledge, but are unable to think to find solutions to their life situations [6] - [10] . To this effect, the school needs to rethink its mission and adopt teaching approaches that will bring the child to learn how to perceive problems and to think logically. Several researchers have proposed models susceptible to improving school success rate by classifying learning into educational objectives [11] - [13] or organising teaching content into modules [14] . The taxonomy of educational objectives ensured that learning objectives were clearly defined without ambiguity to enable the teaching/learning of specific content and processes.

Klopfer’s [12] taxonomy of educational objectives was used to guide teaching/learning at:

- the instructional or knowledge and comprehension category or just the acquisition of scientific knowledge [12] ;

- the formation or observation and measurement category or knowledge of being level (knowledge of the state, characteristic or property of an object, living thing or part of it) [12] .

Noumi’s hypothetico-deductive thinking theory: “considering characteristic or property as solution and deciphering the problem that led to it possession” was used to guide the process of education or the development of thinking skills or knowledge of the application of know-how [7] [15] .

The 3rd graders in primary school in Cameroon have learned to read and write in previous classes and are being introduced to other subjects on the syllabus for that class. Among these lessons is natural sciences often called nature study in the Cameroon system at this stage. Generally, the reflex is to believe that 3rd graders in this system are not yet mature intellectually enough to think. Consequently, teachers at this level are often required to limit their lessons exclusively to what is found in the school textbook. School textbooks are often incomplete without the educational aspect of the development of thinking skills, psychosocial competences and problem-solving abilities, thus reducing teaching to mere instruction. The question that this investigation sets out to answer therefore is:

Given that the 3rd graders in Cameroon are being introduced to nature study at this stage in their education, is it possible to capitalise on this to introduce them to learning how to think? If so, what could be the possible outcome?

The purpose of this survey is therefore to show the suitability of selected categories of Klopfer’s [12] taxonomy of pedagogic objectives appropriate to this level and the hypothetico-deductive thinking methodology in developing educational aspects that the human skeleton teaches mankind and which can be used in guiding the thinking process in learners.

2. Methodology

2.1. Sampling

This study was carried out in the 2011-2012 academic year in Cameroon. The survey population consisted of pupils of primary 4 of teaching practice application schools attached to the Teacher Training College (ENIEG) of Edéa. Four urban (Edéa Central) and three semi-urban (Basseké-Mbanda quarter) were involved in the study. The experimental and control groups were designated through random drawing without returning the drawn school into the lot [16] . The first draw aimed to designate the experimental group and the second to designate the control group. The results of this sampling are represented in Table 1.

Table 1. Distribution of the experimental and control groups in the sample.

PC: Primary class; 4A, 4B: Stream 4A, Stream 4B.

2.2. Materials, Experimentation, Data Collection, and Treatment

2.2.1. Materials

Materials consisted of:

- two lessons on observation of the human body; and the human skeleton and movement;

- post and pretests based on the lessons


The lessons were 30 minutes in duration each and based on the topics listed above. The lessons were designed to cover:

- selected subcategories of Klopfer’s taxonomic categories A.0 (Knowledge and comprehension) and B.0 (observation and measurement);

- the perception of characteristics or properties as solutions to problems from which brainstorming is employed to decipher the problem necessitating the possession of the characteristic or property [7] - [9] .

More specifically, the two lessons used in the experimental group were structured as follows:

- Klopfer’s taxonomic category A.0―Knowledge and Comprehension

o A.01: knowledge of specific facts such as functions of the skeleton;

o A.02: knowledge of scientific terminologies;

o A.03: knowledge of concepts of science such as components and functions of the skull, trunk, upper and lower limbs;

o A.06: knowledge of classification such as types of bones―long, short and flat bones.

- Klopfer’s taxonomic category B.0―Observation and Measurement

o B.01 and 02: observation of objects and phenomena and description of their characteristics using appropriate scientific terminologies, such as bones can form box-like enclosures called the skull or cranium and cage- like enclosures called the ribcage.

- Hypothetico-deductive thinking process such as:

o A characteristic or property is a solution to a particular problem;

o What could be the possible problem being solved by the possession of the characteristic or property;

o Clear and precise statement of the problem;

o Identification of the know-how of the object, phenomenon, event, organism or its part;

o Application of identified solution in same field of biology, other fields of biology, other sciences and in society including technology.

Assessment tests

Pre- and post-assessment tests were administered before and after the lessons to both the control and experimental groups based on the concepts of knowledge and comprehension; observation and measurement; and the hypothetico-deductive thinking process.

The pretest for the control and experimental groups consisted in submitting the pupils to a test before teaching by educational objectives, to diagnose the entry level of pupils. The test which was marked on 20 was administered to a total of 289 pupils distributed as follows: 152 in the control group and 137 in the experimental group.

The posttest consisted in submitting the pupils to a test after teaching by educational objectives, to verify the level of attainment of the fixed objectives in the research. The worked sheets of the pupils were corrected by authors to avoid possible halo effect by the teachers of the classes concerned.

The posttest for both groups had as objectives to find out:

- if pupils attained the expected teaching and learning objectives―a formative evaluation;

- the level of development of the intellect(education) of pupils after the lessons.

The test questions were designed to find out the following:

- Question 1 (Q1): based on knowledge and comprehension required pupils to illustrate their mastery of scientific knowledge about the human skeleton. This was marked on 6 marks and structured as follows:

o The true and false answer type questions;

o Underlining the correct answer from among a list of suggested distracters.

- Question 2 (Q2): based on observation and measurement was also marked on 6 marks. This was structured into:

o Labelling parts of bones in longitudinal section;

o Describing the characteristics of bones and the skeleton using appropriate scientific terminologies;

o Cross-matching of structure with bone type as an alternative way to illustrate the mastery of the concept of observation and measurement.

- Question 3 (Q3): based on the hypothetico-deductive thinking process, was marked out of 8 marks and required pupils to show evidence of the appropriation of brainstorming techniques and resources mobilisation. It was based on the following format:

o Underlining the correct answer;

o Providing short answer responses;

o Brainstorming to decipher problems being solved by the characteristics identified in Q2 above;

o The yes or no answer type questions.

2.2.2. Experimentation

During the experimentation, the class teachers were trained to appropriate the use of Klopfer’s [12] taxonomy of pedagogic objectives and Noumi’s hypothetico-deductive thinking theory to guide preparation and teaching of the lessons. In the control group, the class teacher taught the lessons following his normal classroom practice which consisted of the traditional scientific approach of “Observing, Hypothesising, Experimenting, Results, Interpretation and Conclusion (OHERIC)”. The lesson in both control and experimental groups were conducted under the same pedagogic conditions (classroom setting, participation, same timetable, learners not informed that the survey was actually an experiment being conducted, and the same class teacher teaching the lessons).All of these aimed to minimise the Hawthorne effect [17] . This was to ensure that changes in learning outcome could within reasonable limits be attributed to the experiment and not to psychological factors caused by prior knowledge of the experimentation. The non-disclosure of the purpose of the study to the control group was more so to minimize in addition to the Hawthorne effect, the Henry effect of working hard by members of the group to defeat the purpose through overcoming the disadvantage of being in the control group. Learners of the experimental group were however informed that a particular pedagogic action was being undertaken which requires the mustering of additional effort in order to stay at a high level of performance on their part. The pre- and posttest scripts of participants were collected and marked by the authors of this study after harmonizing a marking guide to minimize the halo effect due to familiarity between the class teachers and pupils on the one hand and to minimize discrepancies in marks awarded to respondents among the markers (authors) as much as possible.

2.2.3. Data Collection

Data were collected between November and the first week of December in the 2011-2012 academic year. In each class, the questionnaire was first administered as a pretest followed by teaching the two lessons on the human skeleton. The same questionnaire was again administered one month after the lessons in a posttest assessment to minimize familiarity effect with the questionnaire.

2.2.4. Data Treatment and Analysis

Scripts were marked and entered against pre-defined codes corresponding to each pupil. Missing data were appropriately coded to prevent the statistical software considering such data as valid responses and thus calculating inflated means for the continuous data involved in the study. The codes and transcribed marks were keyed into the variable and data view spreadsheets of SPSS v.20.0. A two-step process for detecting and correcting errors in the keyed-in data was adopted with missing and incomplete data sets excluded pair-wise. A spell-check run led to the correction in spelling errors in data sets. This was followed by verification of the appropriateness of the measurement scale and the correction of outliers [18] [19] . A two-way mixed model with measures of absolute agreement plan for inter-rater reliability at a confidence interval of 95% was adopted. Cronbach’s alpha and intraclass correlation coefficient 2 (ICC2) statistics on mean performances were generated to decide the inter-rater level of agreement with the rating plan. These are presented in the results section in Tables 2(a)-(c). After balancing the number of respondents in both the control and experimental groups to 135 per group making a total of 270 to provide level ground for comparison, a normality check was conducted through the verification of the measures of central tendency and variability (mean and standard deviation values respectively) and the generation of frequency distribution of the marks and their corresponding histogram and curves [18] [19] . Initial data treatment and sorting consisted in generating descriptive statistic of frequency distribution tables and the computation of means, standard deviations and variances. Trends and patterns in the data sets were identified and described.

(a) (b) (c)

Table 2. (a) Summary treatment of observations; (b) Reliability statistic; (c) Intraclass correlation coefficient.

aExclude list-wise based on all variables.

aThe estimator is the same, whether the interaction effect is present or not; bType C intraclass correlation coefficients using a consistency definition (the variance between measures is excluded from the denominator variance); cThis estimate is calculated on the basis of the assumption that the interaction effect is inexistent since it cannot be estimated otherwise.

Comparing and interpreting the pre- and posttest mean performances between the control and experimental groups consisted of generating Z scores which employed the measure of central tendency (mean) and the measure of variability (standard deviation).

3. Results

3.1. Inter-Rater Reliability

The results show a two-way random effect model where people effects are random and measure effects are fixed. In Table 2(c), an ICC(2) was computed for 3 raters across 135 ratees. In this table, ICC(2, 1) = 0.641. This means that ICC(2, k), which in this case is ICC(2, 3) = 0.947. Therefore, 94.7% of the variance in the mean of these raters is “real”. Coupled with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.947 (Table 2(b)), the inter-rater reliability of the assessment plan in this study was found to be very satisfactory.

3.2. Descriptive Results

From Table 3, it is observed that while the mean marks for the pretest control (M = 9.53) and experimental (M = 9.09) groups remained perceptibly close to one another, those in the overall performance regrouping all three categories investigated showed perceptible differences with the control (M = 8.84) and the experimental (M = 11.33). This is also reflected in the variances of the two groups in both the pretest and the overall posttest.

3.2.1. Overall Pretest Performance.

The distribution of the pretest results is shown in Table 4 and Figure 1. These marks are normally distributed for both the control and experimental groups with a mean of 9.53/20 and 9.09/20 respectively. From the mean performances at the pretest, it can be inferred that the two groups have appreciably very close entry levels.

3.2.2. Posttest Performances Category by Category

The posttest results consisted of the mark distribution according to the different categories of Klopfer’s taxonomy of pedagogic objectives [7] [12] and the Noumi hypothetico-deductive thinking theory, and finally the mark distribution in the overall performance combining all three categories investigated together.

Figure 1. Histogram of mark distribution of the control and experimental groups at the pretest. Source: Data collected and analysed by Mothia, Noumi and Nditafon.

Table 3. General distribution of the results.

Table 4. Mark distribution at the overall pretest in the control and experimental groups.

Knowledge and comprehension

The distribution of the posttest marks related to this category is presented in Table 5. These marks show a bell-shaped distribution of the Laplace & Gaussian type with 54.0% of pupils scoring less than 3/6. The mean performance of 2.53/6 in this group was also below 3/6 (Figure 2). In the experimental group 22.2% of pupils scored below 3/6 with 77.8% scoring above 3/6. The average performance in this group stood at 3.58/6. This shows that the pupils of the experimental group mastered the concept used in the lesson better than those of the control group.

Observation and measurement

The distribution of the posttest marks related to this category is presented in Table 6. Pupils in the control group had an average performance of 2.64/6 with 37.8% scoring ˂ 3/6 and 62.2% scoring ≥ 3/6 compared to only 11.2% who scored ˂ 3/6 and 88.2% scoring ≥ 3/6 in the experimental group. It should be noted that those in the experimental group had an improved mean performance above the 50% mark of 3.51/6 (Table 6 and Figure 3). These results show a normal distribution. The pupils of the experimental group observed the objects better and therefore, they appropriated the approach better.

Perception of characteristic as solution to a problem

In this category, the mark distribution is reported in Table 7. Pupils in the control group scored an average mark of 3.48/8 with 37.1% scoring ˂ 4/8 and 62.9% scoring ≥ 4/8. Conversely, pupils in the experimental group

Figure 2. Histogram of posttest mark distribution of the performances of pupils in the control and experimental groups in the knowledge and comprehension category. Source: Data collected and analysed by Mothia, Noumi and Nditafon.

Table 5. Mark distribution at the posttest in the control and experimental groups in the knowledge and comprehension category [12] .

Figure 3. Percentage of control and experimental group pupils according to the posttest distribution in the observation and measurement category of Klopfer’s taxonomy. Source: Data collected and analysed by Mothia, Noumi and Nditafon.

Table 6. Mark distribution at the posttest groups in the observation & measurement category [12] .

Table 7. Mark distribution at the posttest groups in the perception of characteristic as solution to a problem [7] .

showed an average performance of 4.87/8 with only 8.2% scoring ˂ 4/8 and 91.8% scoring ≥ 4/8. The distribution of these marks respected the Laplace and Gauss normal curve as in Figure 4. The performance of the pupils of the experimental group is improved with respect to those of the control group. The pupils of the experimental group mastered better the cognitive skill expected in this category which is reflected in their improved intellectual performance compared to those in the control group who were not exposed to the same treatment.

Overall posttest performance

The mark distribution in the overall posttest performance is presented in Table 8 and Figure 5. The overall mean performance of pupils in the control group was 8.84/20―a performance that is very close to that of the pretest control and experimental groups (9.53/20 and 9.09/20 respectively). This is an indication that there has not been any appreciable improvement in the performances of pupils in the control group throughout the experi-

Figure 4. Percentage of control and experimental group pupils according to the posttest marks in the perception of characteristic as a solution to a problem. Source: Data collected and analysed by Mothia, Noumi and Nditafon.

Figure 5. Posttest mark distribution in the overall performance of the control and experimental. Source: Data collected and analysed by Mothia, Noumi and Nditafon.

Table 8. Mark distribution at the posttest groups in the overall performance involving all categories of investigation.

mentation. In this group, 50.3% of pupils scored ˂ 10/20 and 49.7% ≥10/20. Conversely in the experimental group, the overall mean performance stood at 11.33/20―an appreciable improvement compared to the pretest and control group of the posttest performances. Additionally, only 18.5% scored ˂ 10/20 with an impressive 81.5% scoring ≥ 10/20. This shows that pupils in the experimental group mastered the process of the cognitive skill in thinking that constituted the objective of this study. This suggests that the approach to teaching which had as goal to develop thinking skills in pupils made the lessons interesting, leading to greater involvement by learners in the construction of their own knowledge. The process also possibly led to appropriation of the constructed knowledge by learners. The results showed a normal distribution akin to the Laplace and Gaussian curves.

3.3. Interpretation of Results

The Z-scores for the control and experimental groups were calculated (Z-calculated or Zc) and compared to the table values (Z-read or Zr) for distance of variation between the control and treatment means at 95% confidence interval in a two-tail analysis.

3.3.1. Pretest

The Zc and Zr values in the pretest before treatment are presented in Table 9.

From this table Zc < Zr, suggesting that there is no appreciable difference between the averages of the two groups at the pretest. Pupils in both groups all had an overall average performance below the pass mark. The overall average performances are pretty close to one another that it is difficult to say whether the observed difference is because of a real underlying difference in both groups or it is just a question of chance. The slight difference observed between the average mark of the experimental group and the average mark of the control group could therefore be attributed to sampling chance. The low overall mean performances could be explained in part by the lack of the mastery of thinking process introduced by this study and on the other hand to the initial low level of appropriation of the didactic method used by the teachers to teach the lessons.

3.3.2. Posttest

In the collateral investigations bound to this survey, 66.6% of teachers investigated use the teaching/learning approach based on the classical tentative method schematised by the oft-quoted scientific approach (as in Section 2.2.2). This approach does not appear to teach thinking skills as illustrated by the poor results of the pretests with mean performances ˂ 10/20 in both groups. Among the teachers involved in this study, 86.3% did not know about Klopfer’s [12] taxonomy of pedagogic objectives and the Noumi’s [7] hypothetico-deductive thinking theory―both methodological approaches used with the experimental group alone.

In the Knowledge and Comprehension category, the declarative knowledge brings the pupil to know the concept or the phenomena as facts. The difference in performance observed between the experimental and control groups could have resulted from the fact that in the experimental group, pupils learned to identify the knowledge in new contexts and how to translate it from one form of expression to another. This methodology

Table 9. Summary of the pretest Z-values.

enables in addition the enrichment of the lesson sometimes beyond the summaries found in school textbooks and manuals. The methodology equally has the advantage of establishing the link between school learning and society as the school textbooks and manuals most often do not bring out this link, making learning sort of abstract and uninteresting. The didactic situations to which the learners were subjected consisted in deciphering the problem necessitating the acquisition of a particular characteristic and extrapolating from that to find similar characteristics in other areas including the society and technology. Similar situations were then brainstormed upon to find out if the problem behind their possession was similar to the one identified. This approach we are convinced, provided optimum motivation and interest in learning, leading to appropriation of thinking skills by those in the experimental group. A summary of the posttest Zc and Zr are presented in Table 10.

From the table, Zc > Zr indicating that there is an appreciable difference in the mean performances between the control and experimental groups with the experimental group showing improvement in performance over the control group. The theory of didactic situations [20] enables a deeper understanding of this difference of 2.53/6 in the control group and 3.48/6 in the experimental group as well as between their respective standard deviations of 0.88 and 1.04 and variances of 0.77 and 1.07.

In the Observation and Measurement category, the pupils of the experimental group learned to specify their observations and to express their ideas and the progression of their thought. This category enabled pupils to acquire skills in effective observation accompanied by a meticulous description of their observations using appropriate scientific terminologies. It enabled the acquisition of positive adjustable values in the process of perception of features of objects and phenomena. The average mark of the experimental group is tolerable (3.51/6).

As can be seen from Table 11, Zc > Zr, indicating that there is a difference in the mean performances between the control and experimental groups.

In the Perception of Characteristic as a Solution to Problems, and the deciphering of the problem(s) that led to its possession, the pupils were introduced to the educational aspect of developing their intellect. The teaching subjected the pupils to problem-solving skills through selected well designed tasks situations. Each task situation was characterised by brainstorming that constituted the activities that the pupils had to realise. A typology of these activities is outlined in the [7] hypothetico-deductive theory that places emphasis on the steps in the intellectual development of the pupils. The average mark of the experimental group reached 4.87/8 and the one of the control group was low (3.48/8). The pupils of the experimental group appropriated the knowledge and process of thinking to the point where they were able to find solutions to similar problems by identifying a range of relevant contexts leading to the development of knowledge-in-context. They saw the knowledge and skills acquired as relational―context-dependent, and they became comfortable in dealing with a concept in a range of contexts because they had developed the capacity to judge what aspects of the concept were relevant to the particular context [21] . They demonstrated this level of attainment when they were able to apply the concept of box-like cages of the skull and ribcage in the protection of soft delicate body parts that do not have possibilities of attachment by skeletal muscles to the enlargement of the pelvis in women to enable the developing embryo seat comfortably in the womb; man-made cages to protect and house pets; box-like saves for keeping treasures and valuables, etc. This is the application of a concept in varying situations―a skill acquired by introducing the pupils to the hypothetico-deductive [7] thinking process. This is shown by the fact that Zc > Zr as in Table 12.

In the general distribution of the marks at the posttest, Zc > Zr (Table 13) shows proof of a meaningful difference between the average marks of the two groups. The average mark of the pupils of the experimental group is 11.33/20 and the one of the pupils of the control group remained appreciably low (8.84/20). The posttest control group marks compared favourably with the pretest marks of 9.53 for the control and 9.09 for the experimental―all below average pass marks. The improvement in the experimental group could be explained by the fact that Klopfer’s taxonomy and the Noumi hypothetico-deductive deductive thinking theory were used to guide the development and teaching of the lesson which motivated interest and involvement of the pupils.

Table 10. Summary of the posttest Z-values in the knowledge and comprehension category.

Table 11. Summary of the posttest Z-values in the observation & measurement category.

Table 12. Summary of the posttest Z-values in the perception of characteristic as a solution to a problem.

Table 13. Summary of the posttest Z-values in the overall performance combining all categories investigated.

3.3.3. Thinking Skills

This aimed to link the prior knowledge gains of the pupils on the human skeleton and movement to other areas of science, technology and the society. By handling teaching in this way, a unique correct answer is not expected. Rather, a series of responses are possible and all depend on the convincing arguments advanced to support each type of answer. Learning to think is a skill that is acquired with practice and endurance [8] . In the lessons on the human skeleton, the technique for developing thinking skill consisted of identifying a characteristic as a solution to some problem(s) and brainstorming to decipher the problem necessitating the acquisition of the characteristic. Characteristics identified, described and analysed from which corresponding problems were deciphered by the pupils in this study consisted among others of:

Characteristic 1

The skull is a bony box. The fact that the skull is a bony box is solution to a problem.

What can this problem be?

Problem: How can the skeleton support and protect the delicate brain which is a non-muscular soft mass that cannot attach itself to bones like other muscles do?

Solution adopted: Develop a bony box around the brain. This is the skeleton’s know-how in solving the problem of supporting and protecting the very important soft and delicate brain.

Application of this know-how in the same field of science, other fields of science, and technology including society:

In Zoology, vertebrate animals (Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Aves, and Mammals) have cranial boxes supporting and protecting their brains.

In Botany, some plants have hard pericarps surrounding and protecting their seeds such as in the coconut (Cocos nucifera, Arecaceae), the calabash fruits (Lagenaria siceraria, Cucurbitaceae), snuffbox tree (Oncoba glauca, Flacourtiaceae), oil palm (Elaeis guineensis, Arecaceae).

In technology and society, liquids and pastry substances are stored in bottles, tins and other appropriate containers. Treasures and other valuables are stored in strong metal, plastic, or wooden cases called saves and coffers.

Characteristic 2

At the thoracic level, the backbone has ribs that form a cage with the sternum. The fact that the backbone forms a ribcage with the sternum is solution to a problem. What can this problem be?

Problem: How can the skeleton protect organs that function incessantly (lungs, heart) from suffocation by external pressure?

Solution adopted: Construct a cage around the organs. This is the skeleton’s know-how.

Application of this know-how in the same field of science, other fields of science, and technology including society:

In Zoology, all vertebrate animals have a ribcage to protect their hearts and lungs from external pressure. Birds build nests to shelter and protect themselves, their eggs, and young from external pressure, aggression from predators and hash environmental conditions.

In technology and society, the bodywork of cars is a cage for protecting its occupants from external pressure. Metallic and wooden cages are constructed to keep pet animals such as parrots, dogs, doves, etc.

Characteristic 3

At the level of the abdomen, the backbone does not carry ribs and there is no abdominal cage like the thoracic ribcage. The fact that there is no ribcage in the abdominal region is solution to a problem(s). What can this problem be?


Problem 1: How can the skeleton provide the abdomen which houses the stomach and the alimentary system, and the womb the latitude to expand when:

Ÿ people eat and drink;

Ÿ the woman (female) is pregnant?

Solution adopted: No ribcage in the abdomen which is susceptible to expanding when it takes in: food, drinks, or a pregnancy.

Application of this know-how in the same field of science, other fields of science, technology including society:

In technology and the human society, the cabins of trucks and goods only vehicles are wide open to receive voluminous baggage. Balloons for decoration and carrying objects, humans, and messages into the air are elastic and do not have cages to limit their expansion.

Problem 2: How can the skeleton ensure the flexibility of the lumbar vertebrae so that a person in a standing position can bend forward and pick something from the ground or arch backward without bending the knees?

Solution adopted: Free the five lumbar vertebrae of all bony appendages to enable them flex as desired. Additionally, provide each joint between two vertebrae with cartilaginous and elastic disks to facilitate bending movements. This is the skeleton’s know-how in solving this type of problem.

Application of this know-how in the same field of science, other fields of science, and technology including society:

In the animal kingdom the abdomens of the vertebrates do not have ribs. The backbones of fishes carry vertical extensions limiting their flexibility to a bilateral one.

In technology and society public work uses caterpillars and tractors (front and back loaders) with joints that allow for flexibility in movement and easy manipulation.

4. Discussion

The methodology used in this research was an interaction model that created didactic situations of the type described by Gaonac and Golder [22] . This approach modelled the pupil's didactic environment. The teacher became a facilitator with the intention of making the learners to learn by actively constructing their own knowledge [23] .

The use of Klopfer’s taxonomy of pedagogic objectives enables the teacher to improve the content of his teaching and equally enabled the pupils participate actively in constructing and appropriating know-how, skills, and expertise. There is passage from pedagogy of spoon feeding to one of questioning according to which all lesson must be designed to answer learner’s questions [16] . The Noumi hypothetico-deductive thinking theory [7] - [9] adds a plus to the methodology. It orients the pupils to appropriate autonomy and self-reliance and therefore to take their own learning into their hands. By questioning nature’s ways of solving problems, the pupil is placed within the framework of Vygotsky’s historical and cultural constructivism [24] which emphasises social interactions with the “More Knowledgeable Other” (MKO) in the cognitive development of the learners. Such social interactions enable the pupils to develop several intellectual capacities such as questioning skills, scientific curiosity, voluntary attention, the logical memory, abstraction, and the ability to compare and to differentiate―all of which have been observed in the experimental group. The interpersonal exchanges became sources of cognitive development through the socio-cognitive conflicts generated within the learners and facilitated by the use of the hypothetico-deductive framework of thinking. In the process of battling with this conflict, when the learner replaces his/her preconceptions with scientifically constructed knowledge, then learning can be said to have occurred [3] [25] - [27] .

Assessment of both groups, (control and experimental), illustrates that Klopfer’s taxonomy when used in combination with the hypothetico-deductive thinking theory provides an efficient methodological approach in the development of thinking skills in 3rd grade pupils in the Cameroon primary education system. This tango of two methodological approaches when carefully combined can enable the 3rd graders to develop their intellectual capacities, creativity and know-how in meeting life challenges [3] . They also ensure the development of knowledge, life skills and know-how, and therefore the holistic development of the child that takes into consideration its cognitive, psychomotor and affective needs [28] . Following this approach the learner makes of school knowledge the means to an end and not an end in itself.

5. Conclusions

In this study, pupils constructed scientific knowledge themselves and appropriated the thinking process because the preparation and teaching of the lessons were guided by Klopfer’s taxonomy and the hypothetico-deductive thinking theory. The educational objectives structured in a specific manner contributed to the development of the declarative and procedural knowledge. The approach was oriented towards the development of the intellect and therefore thinking. It required of the 3rd graders a committed involvement in dealing with varied ideas as teaching is directed towards the development of the correct concept of the nature of science.

In perspective, work in progress aims at using the mathematical concept of the set theory to regroup the know-how of the human skull with respect to its application in other fields of the sciences, technology and the society.

Cite this paper

Jeannette Mothia,Emmanuel Noumi,George Nditafon, (2015) Developing Thinking Skills among Third Grade (Class 4) Pupils in Some Elementary Practising Schools in Edéa, Cameroon Using Lessons on the Human Skeleton. Open Access Library Journal,02,1-15. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1102071


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