Watt, Dorothy and Terry Russell


Liverpool University Press
ISBN 0-85323-456-6
Price: 7.00

Grade focus: K-2, 3-5

This report is one of a series developed by the Primary SPACE Project (Science Processes and Concept Exploration), based jointly at the Department of Education, University of Liverpool, and the Center for Educational Studies, King's College, London, UK. The series describes studies conducted by researchers and teachers to understand elementary school children's ideas in particular science concept areas and how students modify their ideas as the result of brief teaching interventions.

The report contains: (1) an overview of a pilot study conducted to explore student ideas about sound; (2) a description of student ideas before the teaching intervention; (3) a description of the teaching intervention that was intended to encourage students to develop their ideas; (4) a description of student ideas after the teaching intervention; and (5) a summary of the research findings. Appendices include descriptions of the interview questions that were used to explore student ideas. Excerpts from student interviews and samples of student drawings and written work appear throughout the report.

The research specifically explored student ideas about the production, transmission, and reception of sound. Some findings include: "Sound" and "vibration" were not linked intuitively by young elementary school children but an association developed as their experiences broadened. Upper elementary school students seemed to profit most from the intervention. For example, after the intervention, increased proportions of these students mentioned that sound traveled and referred to sound traveling through a medium.

Other titles in the series include: The Earth in Space; Evaporation and Condensation; Growth; Light; Materials; Processes of Life; and Rocks, Soil, and Minerals.