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ERIC Number: EJ1151385
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Aug
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Students' Conceptions of Glaciers and Ice Ages: Applying the Model of Educational Reconstruction to Improve Learning
Felzmann, Dirk
Journal of Geoscience Education, v65 n3 p322-335 Aug 2017
Glaciers and ice ages are important topics in teaching geomorphology, earth history, and climate change. As with many geoscience topics, glacier formation, glacier movement, glacial morphology, and ice ages consist of a wide variety of processes and phenomena. Accordingly, it must be decided which of those processes and phenomena should be part of the curriculum. Although little is known about students' conceptions of glaciers and ice ages, this study aimed to unite the scientific and the student perspectives to formulate recommendations regarding what should be taught about this topic to young, teenage students (approximately 14 y old). The student perspective was analyzed through teaching experiments in which the students were asked about their conceptions and later received instruction in the topic. The scientific perspective was analyzed with textbooks. The comparison of these perspectives showed that students overemphasized the importance of processes with liquid water for glacier formation, glacier movement, and glacial morphology. Further, they preferred to construe one-time processes with a focus on the whole when they had to explain glacial processes. For example, they explained glacier formation by a sudden freezing of huge masses of liquid water. Implications for teaching, for example, about how glacier formation can be described as a continuous process on the microscopic level in the absence of fluid water, are outlined
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A