University Of Tasmania
112794 - year 3 students.pdf (793.07 kB)

Year 3 students’ conceptions of heat transfer

Download (793.07 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 11:35 authored by Noleine FitzallenNoleine Fitzallen, Wright, S, Jane WatsonJane Watson, Edwin DuncanEdwin Duncan
Many children and adults have problems differentiating between heat and temperature. As a consequence, intuitions developed about the transfer of heat and other thermal concepts do not align with scientific explanations of the phenomena. These intuitions are formed as alternative conceptions, which are resistant to change and persist as children progress through school. In order to develop teaching interventions that challenge children’s thinking it is necessary to determine the potential alternative conceptions developed early in life. Embedded within the context of a STEM research project, the study reported in this paper explored Year 3 students’ conceptions about heat transfer and the properties of insulation after they had worked through an experiment that required them to collect data to determine the effect of insulation on the transfer of heat. The students were interviewed and the transcripts were interrogated to identify the instances when the students demonstrated their conceptions of thermal concepts. The aim was to determine the way in which the students related their conceptions of heat transfer and insulating properties of material to the context of the experiment and to every day experiences. Excerpts from the student interviews are used to illustrate the range of understanding expressed by the students.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Proceedings of the 2016 Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference






Faculty of Education


Australian Association for Research in Education

Place of publication


Event title

Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference 2016: transforming education research

Event Venue

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright unknown

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives