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Consistency of children's use of science conceptions: problems with the notion of "conceptual change"

journal contribution
posted on 01.12.1994, 00:00 authored by Russell TytlerRussell Tytler
A study of primary school children's explanations of a range of phenomena concerning air pressure revealed considerable fluidity in their use of conceptions. A measure of consistency was developed and applied to children's written and oral explanations in a range of contexts. While the results showed a general trend with age toward more abstract, 'generalizable' conceptions, the notion of parsimony was found to be problematic on a number of levels. Children do not apply a single conception to a phenomenon, but rather operate with multiple conceptions in their explanations, complicating the whole notion of consistency. Moreover, as they develop and apply more advanced conceptions, children inevitably display temporary reductions in consistency. These findings suggest a rather more complex model of conceptual advance than implied in the literature on 'conceptual change'.

History

Journal

Research in science education

Volume

24

Issue

1

Pagination

338 - 347

Publisher

Kluwer Academic Publishers

Location

Dordrecht, The Netherlands

ISSN

0157-244X

eISSN

1573-1898

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

1994, Australasian Science Education Research Association