How young children model chemical change

Cristian Merino, Neus Sanmartí

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This paper analyses the perceptions of a group of children aged between 9 and 11 that emerge when they imagine a chemical change and explain it through drawings. Our investigation stems from broader research at primary school level, aimed at developing children's capacities to model changes in the structure of materials through stimulating the use of a discrete model of matter. Children participated in an activity consisting of observing, 'playing' to imagine, and drawing what happens in a chemical change. Analysis of their drawings seeks to identify the main characteristics of the generated models. Results show that children have a grasp of some ideas of the particulate model; this could be useful to scaffold the development of the model of chemical change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-207
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry Education Research and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Chemical reactions
  • Conceptual models
  • Modelling
  • Particle model
  • Primary school science
  • Transformations of matter


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