Playing With Science: An Investigation of Young Children’s Science Conceptions and Misconceptions

Lori Smolleck


The purpose of this research was to investigate the conceptions and misconceptions of young children (ages 3 – 8) related to science concepts, skills, and phenomena. These conceptions and misconceptions were investigated within the framework of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards for Pre-Kindergarten and the Pennsylvania Standards for Kindergarten as developed and published by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in 2005. In addition, the National Science Education Standards also served as a foundation for our research. Findings reveal the most common conceptions related to matter, magnetism, density, and air. Extrapolations from this research can be used by pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, and teacher educators to implement experiences in the classroom that assist in developing and refining young children’s understandings of scientific concepts, skills, and phenomena.


young children; science education; misconceptions; conceptions; conceptual change; conceptual learning

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Arizon State University

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