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Report: Childrens Understanding of the Earth - Research Paper Example

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Specifically, it sought to examine whether any significant differences were found between the perceptions of the two groups, as well as to test claims by Panagiotaki,…
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Research Report: Childrens Understanding of the Earth
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Download file to see previous pages Results indicated that younger and older children’s perceptions of the earth do significantly differ from each other. However, the children’s responses were not significantly influenced by the method used.
Since the publication of the groundbreaking work by Nussbaum and Novak (1976), the study of children’s understanding of the earth has been of interest to developmental and educational psychologists. Through examining children’s conceptions of the earth, it is possible to gain insight into how beliefs and theories develop as well as to how the accumulation of knowledge occurs. Children’s conceptions of the earth provide a unique focus of study in this area, in that observable and scientific knowledge regarding the earth contradict each other. In other words, that which is easily observable by children (i.e. the earth is flat) is often different from that which is scientifically true (i.e. the earth is round).
In 1992, Vosniadou and Brewer conducted a study designed to test elementary school children’s conception of the earth. 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade students were tested. Initially, the children’s responses seemed inconsistent and sometimes contradictory. Upon further investigation, Vosniadou and Brewer (1992) were able to identify 6 naive mental models held by the children: the sphere, the rectangular earth, the disc earth, the dual earth, the hollow sphere, and the flattened sphere.
Vosniadou and Brewer theorized that each of these mental models represented a step in the progression from the early observable to what is scientifically true, and represented incremental ways for the children to assimilate what they saw with the scientific knowledge of the earth. The research indicated that the children’s responses did vary by age group. The responses of the 1st graders were the most diverse, with the responses of 7 out of the 20 children being inconsistent, 6 being consistent ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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