This exploratory study took two items, which were designed to ascertain children’s understanding of the phenomenon of ‘seeing’, and used them to gather data over the K-10 age range. One item was adapted from an earlier large-scale survey by Adams et al. (1990); the other was based on a set of metaphors for ‘seeing’ designed by Guesne (1985). The data gathered were analysed in the context of a cognitive structural model. This analysis showed that, in relation to the concept of vision, the cognitive model selected was able to account for the ‘normal’ developmental sequence, as well as indicate some possible sequences which might help to explain the ‘alternative framework’ phenomenon in this case. There seems to be sufficient evidence from this study to warrant more detailed research in two directions. The first, replicating with a larger sample, the variables discussed in this paper, and the second, carrying out exploratory studies on concepts in other areas of science which have also documented the ‘alternative framework’ phenomenon. The results from this line of research would be invaluable to science educators who are interested in devising applications for classroom teaching, learning, assessment and curriculum development.