Analysis of questions in primary school science textbooks in Japan
This chapter illuminates the characteristics of questions in Japanese primary school science textbooks. In this study, 818 questions were extracted from a set of primary school science textbooks from the third to the sixth grade. Results revealed that the word ‘why’ is used very infrequently, but ‘yes/no’ questions and ‘noun-seeking’ questions occur frequently even in grade six science textbooks. Only 2% of all the questions contained the interrogative ‘why’. The characteristics of yes/no, noun-seeking, and adjective/adverb-seeking questions differ according to grade and content area. An analysis of lesson-review questions revealed that the word ‘examine’ was often used. This study also employed text mining to analyse the questions, revealing a common link between the words ‘what’ and ‘discovery’ and those focusing on concrete objects. It is important for children, teachers, and curriculum developers to note that the characteristics of science questions differ from other subjects. This study opens the door to discussing science education across different language-culture communities.