Children's Misconceptions in Primary Science: a survey of teachers' views
Authors: Pine, Karen; Messer, David; St. John, Kate
Source: Research in Science & Technological Education, Volume 19, Number 1, 1 May 2001 , pp. 79-96(18)
Abstract:Young children hold naive theories about the world around them, but how do these mediate science learning in primary school? This paper considers the process of conceptual change and describes empirical studies into children's naive theories of physics concepts. The Representational Redescription model is invoked to explain how naive theories are a feature of conceptual change. Data are presented from a survey of 122 teachers of primary science in England. The teachers rated almost one-third of the topics sampled from the primary curriculum as being of above average difficulty for the children, particularly abstract concepts like electricity and forces. In addition, the teachers identified 130 misconceptions (such as 'Stones grow' or 'Taller people are older than shorter people') which children bring to the science class. These data provide a starting point for considering how children's naive theories may mediate their ability to learn and implications for science teaching are discussed.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
Publication date: 1 May 2001