Sci-tutors: Misconceptions and Naïve Ideas of Children - How We Learn Science

Sci-Tutors image

This article from the Sci-tutors website explores in some detail the ideas and misconceptions about science that are held by learners (and even by experienced scientists and science teachers when they are working outside their personal areas of specialism). The nature of children's alternative ideas in science and how they can be probed are discussed. The importance of eliciting these ideas is emphasised and strategies to do this - such as talking, brainstorming, writing, word association, questionnaires, concept mapping, drawing - are presented. Elicitation tasks that can be used by trainees in the context of ITT courses are discussed and exemplified. Clearly the role of language and the interpretation of its meaning by both teachers and learners is central to developing and implementing the ideas that are presented here in the classroom. A number of downloads are available that provide further supporting material for direct use of for adaptation. References to some of the more important literature are provided.



  1. Introduction
  2. Children's alternative ideas
  3. Ways to probe pupils' ideas
  4. The need to elicit children's ideas
  5. Eliciting children's ideas
  6. Elicitation tasks for trainee teachers


alternative conceptions, constructivism, elicitation, language

BEI Keywords