This paper summarises the results of an investigation of Solomon Islands secondary school students' interpretations of three concepts: vision, animals and burning. Internal comparisons among the three areas and external comparisons with findings reported from other societies are made. While some support is given to the idea that children from different cultures may develop similar conceptions, this support is qualified and is shown to be dependent on the type of phenomenon investigated. The degree to which there is immediate personal experience of phenomena may be important, as may the presence or absence of culturally supported explanations. The commonly reported resistance of children's conceptions to school science teaching is also shown not to be universally true. The article ends with a plea for caution in the cross-cultural extrapolation of research into children's conceptions.