Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 630–642 | Cite as

What Plants and Animals Do Early Childhood and Primary Students’ Name? Where Do They See Them?

  • Patricia Patrick
  • Sue Dale Tunnicliffe


Children from England and the United States of America have a basic similar knowledge of plants and animals, which they observe during their everyday life. Nine children of ages 4, 6, 8, and 10 years, in each country, were asked to free-list plants and animals. Afterwards, they were interviewed individually about the plants and animals they listed to determine where they were seen. Additionally, children were asked to name animals they knew that were found in specific habitats or had specific characteristics. The results showed that children from the earliest years notice the animals in their everyday lives and 8 year olds were able to name the most animals. Plants were not named as often as animals and children in the USA found it difficult to name plants when questioned. This study shows that children are in touch with their everyday environment to varying extents, and that rich experiences can greatly contribute to their knowledge about plants and animals.


Early childhood Primary students Informal learning Knowledge of plants and animals Habitats Organisms 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geography, Enterprise, Mathematics and ScienceInstitute of Education, University of LondonLondonUK

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