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Nature tables: Discovering Children's interest in natural objects

Tomkins, Stephen; Tunnicliffe, Sue Dale; (2007) Nature tables: Discovering Children's interest in natural objects. Journal of Biological Education , 41 pp. 150-151. Green open access

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Primary school pupils in the UK today may be less familiar with natural objects, less exposed to formal natural history teaching and have less time given to school-based observation and discussion of natural objects. This study of children’s responses to a ‘Nature Table’ of displayed natural objects was designed to assess pupils’ knowledge of those objects, the sources of their knowledge and the phenomenological nature of those children’s interest in items which they selected to talk about or to photograph. Children in the study were drawn from the first year of formal schooling (age 5-6) and the fifth year of formal schooling (age 9-10). Responses have been recorded and analysed using a simple systemic network. Results show that pupils are attracted most towards items with: an animate or novel nature or appearance, or for which they have some prior familiarity. Items are also attractive if they have aesthetic attributes, which display some responsiveness to the child or engage with the child’s previous experience, or elicit affective feeling. The present study reveals a greater home-based, rather than school-based, source for much of this experience and suggests how the criteria for teachers selecting natural objects for learning in school might be improved.

Type: Article
Title: Nature tables: Discovering Children's interest in natural objects
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Nature; Natural; Observation; Children; Knowledge
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10000298
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