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This study reports on the analysis of South African Life Sciences and Biology textbooks for the inclusion of the nature of science using a conceptual framework developed by Chiappetta, Fillman and Sethna (1991). In particular, we investigated the differences between the representation of the nature of science in Biology textbooks that were written for a previous curriculum and the new Life Sciences textbooks that are in accord with the National Curriculum Statement. The analysis reflects that both Life Sciences and Biology textbooks still overwhelmingly represent the theme “Science as a body of knowledge” according to this framework. Despite significant curriculum reform that underlines a more balanced perspective of science encompassing the acquisition of knowledge through inquiry, the limited coverage given to the themes “The investigative nature of science”, “Science as a way of thinking” and “The interaction of science, technology and society” does not reflect this reform.
Keywords: Biology textbooks; Life Sciences textbooks; nature of science; school science curriculum; science textbook analysis