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This paper reviews the educational research related to student understanding of water and water resources. The literature is drawn primarily from science and environmental education literature and is divided into student knowledge of: physical and chemical properties, biology, earth systems and water resources. The majority of work has been in the area of physics and chemistry and indicates: very low levels of student comprehension, a direct relationship to atomic and kinetic molecular theory and a large number of misconceptions. Children's biological knowledge related to water, although studies are limited to diffusion, osmosis and circulation, appears similarly incomplete with numerous misconceptions. Earth systems knowledge related to water centers around the concept of the water cycle which is poorly understood by all students. The least amount of student knowledge in any area is related to water resources and may reflect the complex interdisciplinary nature of this subject. Finally, multiple studies have drawn the conclusion that older students who have taken science courses have similar level of knowledge as elementary students and they possess more misconceptions about water and water resources. Contains 51 references. (Author)

Descriptors: Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Measurement, Earth Science, Ecology, Elementary School Students, Elementary Secondary Education, Environmental Education, Knowledge Level, Literature Reviews, Physics, Schemata (Cognition), Science Curriculum, Science Education, Secondary School Students, Water, Water Quality, Water Resources

Autor: Brody, Michael J.


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