ERIC Number: ED440882
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr-20
Reference Count: N/A
A Longitudinal Study of Students' Conceptualization of Ecological Processes.
Hellden, Gustav F.
During the last decades, an increasing awareness has developed that humankind will have to make important decisions about the environment which will demand substantive knowledge of critical ecological phenomena such as the production and decomposition of biomass (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). As a biology teacher the researcher found that students at different levels have great difficulties expressing, in their own words, how biomass builds up and breaks down; also where matter comes from and where it goes. This can be true even of students who have studied photosynthesis and respiration. The researcher has also found very limited knowledge about issues concerning transformations of matter, such as decomposition and combustion, when people discuss general environmental issues. Could this lack of knowledge be due to the fact that teaching has not been based on students thinking about ecological phenomena? In order to create teaching situations in which students' ideas about natural phenomena can be challenged, educators must understand how students' thinking about different phenomena develops over time. Therefore the researcher started a longitudinal study of students' understanding of some ecological processes by following a class of students from the age of 9 to 15 (Hellden, 1992; Hellden, 1993; Hellden, 1995). These ecological processes comprised dealing with conditions for life, decomposition, and the role of the flower in the plant's reproduction. The purpose of this research project is: to describe the students' ideas about some biological processes at different ages and how they change over time; to study how the students' ideas are influenced by experiences of everyday life; to describe features in students' ideas about their own learning, and on the basis of these findings, suggest possible ways of challenging their ideas in order to help to develop them. (Contains 22 references.) (Author/ASK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Stockholm.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden