Power Point Presentation

Maria Kambouri
1st year PhD student,
My own experience
Children have a lot of ideas, especially
in science, that lead to mini-theories
which are children’s own explanations
about how our world work
Sometimes these ideas do not agree
with what is generally accepted by the
scientific community and
These ideas can make learning more
difficult for children
This is a scene from a movie that shows a mother
sitting with her 5 year old son at a beach watching
the sunset. This is their conversation:
Boy: Mum, why sun dives in the sea? Is it because
he feels hot?
Mother: Sun doesn’t dive in the sea (smiles).
Boy: Yes he does!
Mother: The earth is round and sun goes around.
Boy: Earth is straight! Mum, are you blind?
Mother: Honey, don’t insist. Galileo will come back
from the dead if he’d listen to this!
Boy: You know NOTHING!
Nowadays, it is generally accepted that children
do not come to school as a “tabula rasa” (Pine,
Messer, John, 2001).
They bring with them ideas about the world around
them and how and why it works (Bradley,1996).
From the moment of birth, or even from the
conception, children are developing scientific
ideas about the world around them
These concepts are multiply held and often
inconsistently applied by the children and, the
most important, that they are remarkably resistant
to change (Black & Lucas, 1993).
Children make assumptions, about how the
world works, which are based on
conceptions and ideas learned through
everyday activities.
Children’s assumptions can be logical and
reasonable but still can prevent the
understanding of scientific concepts as
they can lead to inaccurate conceptions,
called misconceptions (Eaton, Anderson
& Smith, 1984).
Misconceptions can make learning a
difficult procedure for a student (Eaton,
Anderson & Smith, 1984).
Leaving children to their
misconceptions and hoping that they
will overcome them is unfair (Schmidt,
Statistics suggest that teachers
seldom have the time to identify
children’s misconceptions and are
often forced to assume a certain base
of students knowledge (Chen, Kirkby
& Morin, 2006)
Aim of Study and Design
Discover teacher’s perceptions of children’s
misconceptions in regard to science
Investigate how teachers respond to them when
planning and teaching a lesson.
The research is based on case studies of Cypriot
preprimary and primary teachers. The use of case
study may help generalise for Cyprus as a whole.
A sample of teachers from all schools of south
Cyprus teaching 3-7 year old children is used.
Main Research Questions
What are teachers’ perceptions of
children’s misconceptions about science
and how do they identify them?
How do teachers link children’s
misconceptions with a new concept when
planning a lesson?
How do teachers respond and use
children’s misconceptions during lessons?
How confident do pupils feel during science
lessons to make mistakes and ask
Questionnaires: designed, piloted and sent to
150 schools pre-primany and primary schools in
Key informant interviews: Professors at
Cypriot Universities.
Observations of teachers teaching specific
science topics selected from the national
Post-test and pre-test trials designed by the
researcher and teachers.
Two focus group interviews: one with preprimary teachers and one with first grade
primary teachers.
During my first year as a research student I
came across lots of difficulties like for
I couldn't find specific bibliography
about misconceptions and the
situation Cyprus
I also found it hard to decide the age
group I should focus on and the
Finally, it was hard to choose the
science topics that I should focus on
as there are too many topics in
I would be happy to answer
to any questions!