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Any everyday subject may trigger individual conceptions eitherscientifically correct or naively shaped misconceptions, alternativeconceptions. For anyeducator, knowledge about a pupil’s individual perception may strongly supportteaching success. Within this context, we see the use of drinking water asdaily behavior loaded with conceptions. We monitored the perceptions of twodifferent samples, of high achieving 10th graders and of undergraduates inBiology. All participants responded to three closed and three open questionsrequesting individual statements about drinking water. All open questions werecategorized via qualitative content analysis mainly revealing the perception ofdrinking water as a clean product, precisely controlled and drinkable with noneed for worry. In general, some alternative conceptions did not seem differ inboth samples over the time of about five years: For instance, many see our drinkingwater as purified in sewage plants. However, differences between individualsexist: For example, whether water is consumed as tap or bottled water. Here,some name water hardness as the reason to not drink tap water, because theythink it is harmful although the very same participants prefer bottled mineralwater. Other conceptions seem to change over time, such as the estimationabout the remaining time until our drinking water might be used up, orfamiliarity with the term -virtual water-. Summing up, we did find a positiveattitude towards national drinking water policy, although major knowledge gapsneed its mentioning. The relevance of these results and strategies for publicand school teaching are discussed.


Drinking Water, Misconceptions, Alternative Conceptions, Water Education, Water and Environment

Cite this paper

Fremerey, C. , Liefländer, A. and Bogner, F. 2014 Conceptions about Drinking Water of 10th Graders and Undergraduates. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 6, 1112-1123. doi: 10.4236-jwarp.2014.612104.

Autor: Christian Fremerey*, Anne K. Liefländer, Franz X. Bogner



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