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Exploring childrens' views of what's inside the body
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Learning, Aesthetics, Natural science. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. Linköpings universitet. (Visual Learning and Communication)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4694-5611
2012 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The importance of living a healthy life in an everyday context is promoted in schools and preschools. The discussion often focuses on what food is healthy, and that one should eat enough but not too much. The connection between food and beverages and their role in the body is seldom discussed. Students’ ideas about how the human body functions have been investigated in several studies but few have focused on young children. In this study, we investigate young children’s conceptions related to this topic and how their ideas develop. Seventy-nine pre- and primary school children, aged 4-11, participated in individual focus interviews wherein the children were asked to draw and explain their understanding. Our results confirm several findings observed by other workers. However, in contrast with earlier studies, 10 of seventeen 4-5 year-old children indicated the stomach, and more than half of those children described how food can be utilized in the body to extract energy. Furthermore, the brain was among the most commonly mentioned organs cross all age groups. Interestingly, the level of expertise varied and did not covariate with age. For example, five of eight of the 4 year-old children draw 5-8 organs, while a single 10 year-old child could only mention three. Similarly, two of thirteen 7-year old children provided an almost completely correct description of the digestive tract and its function, while most of the older children expressed a much less developed understanding. The results reflect the wide range of different conceptual ideas that teachers confront in a day-to-day classroom context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Didactics Other Biological Topics
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122579OAI: diva2:868202
ERIDOB, Berlin September 17-21, 2012
Available from: 2015-11-09 Created: 2015-11-09 Last updated: 2015-11-18

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Andersson, JohannaTibell, Lena
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Learning, Aesthetics, Natural scienceFaculty of Educational SciencesMedia and Information Technology
DidacticsOther Biological Topics

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