Development of the ecological concepts of energy flow and materials cycling in middle school students participating in earth education programs

Bruce Johnson, Jan Činčera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper focuses on the development of understandings of the ecological concepts of energy flow and materials cycling of middle school students. It is based on a qualitative analysis of individual interviews with 6 students in an urban area of the southern US conducted every year over a 5-year period in 2004–2008, starting in grade 4 and finishing in grade 8. In addition to their formal education, all of the students participated in three outdoor earth education programs (Earthkeepers, Sunship Earth & Sunship III) over a 4-year period. Specifically, the study analyzed what misconceptions connected with energy and matter emerged and how students’ conceptual understanding developed over time. In addition, it discusses the possible effects of educational programs on participating students. The study demonstrates the non-linear process of conceptual change, constrained by a few persistent students’ misconceptions. The study also discusses potential implications for the practice of outdoor educational programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalStudies in Educational Evaluation
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Ecological concepts
  • Energy
  • Environmental education
  • Matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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