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The purpose of this study was to investigate interaction patterns and characteristics of small group discussions during elementary school science classes. Four heterogeneous groups were formed according to preferences and non-preferences, consisting of male and female students. Verbal interactions during small group discussions were audio and videotaped, transcribed and analyzed. The interaction frequency of each group was compared in terms of their cognitive and affective aspects. The results in terms of the cognitive aspect showed that there were no significant differences in the frequency of interaction between preference and non-preference groups' verbal behaviors. However, the quality of interaction was superior and the number of high level types of interaction were more frequent in the preference group. From the affective perspective, both groups of students exhibited a positive attitude in the preference group and a negative attitude in the non-preference group. The differences of interaction between the male and female student's groups were that in the case of the female group, the frequency and the quality of interaction was higher. Moreover, in contrast to male students, female students revealed satisfaction and favorable attitudes in their non-preference group because they felt more a acceptable atmosphere and attitude in that group. These results suggest that the interactions of the preference group are more interactive and elaborate in nature than those of the non-preference group.