”Barns frågor under en naturvetenskaplig aktivitet i förskolan”.

Thulin, S.
Nordisk Barnehageforskning, 3(1), 27-40.


The purpose of this study is to examine what children ask questions about, and how these questions develop during work on a natural-science topic in a kindergarten. The researcher argues that children's questions could be regarded as an indication of where they are in a learning process. The questions reflect the child's experiences and constructions of everyday life. The study is based on the researcher's previous studies which showed that open-ended questions do not automatically make children curious or result in children coming up with an answer. There are two aspects of natural sciences at daycare centres: the acquisition of factual knowledge and the acquisition of a natural-scientific investigation methodology.


The study shows that the questions children ask fall within three broad categories: questions about content, questions about tools and questions outside of the theme. The content questions concern doing something, knowing something, understanding something, relating to something or being involved in relation to the content. The questions about tools concern permission to use the tools, to understand how the tools are used, or wanting to share tools with others. There are many questions about the content, significantly fewer about the tools that are used in the thematic work, and the fewest questions are outside of the topic. The result shows that the children's questions concern the actual content to a high degree. The researcher believes that this indicates that it requires knowledge about a subject to relate personal experiences to it and before it becomes possible to ask questions about a specific subject.


The study was conducted as a case study of a kindergarten group working with the theme "What is soil?". The data material consists of video footage covering all the work on the theme; a total of seven observations of varying length. Twelve children and three teachers participated in the thematic work. The observations were transcribed, and the children's questions were classified and categorised according to type.


Thulin, S. (2010). ”Barns frågor under en naturvetenskaplig aktivitet i förskolan”. Nordisk Barnehageforskning, 3(1), 27-40.

Financed by

Nationella forskarskolan i Barndom, lärande och ämnesdidaktik (Sweden)