How can we find out what 3 and 4 year olds think? New approaches to eliciting very young children's understandings in science

Marilyn Fleer, Tim Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper outlines work in progress on a study which is investigating what children understand about natural and processed materials and how scientific learning on the topic could be extended and reinforced in the home. Four different interview schedules for eliciting children's understanding were developed and tried out. Children's understandings prior to each of the four units, and at the conclusion of the teaching program were documented through individual interviews. Family interviews were also conducted prior to and at the conclusion to the teaching. In this paper the difficulties associated with researching young children's thinking are explored. The rationale for a storytelling context for the interviews is presented, and there is a preliminary discussion on the effectiveness of the methodology utilised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Science Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1993
Externally publishedYes

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