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ERIC Number: EJ1173030
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1350-4622
Learning Molecular Behaviour May Improve Student Explanatory Models of the Greenhouse Effect
Harris, Sara E.; Gold, Anne U.
Environmental Education Research, v24 n5 p754-771 2018
We assessed undergraduates' representations of the greenhouse effect, based on student-generated concept sketches, before and after a 30-min constructivist lesson. Principal component analysis of features in student sketches revealed seven distinct and coherent explanatory models including a new "Molecular Details" model. After the lesson, which described the invisible molecular behaviour of gases, this group (n = 164) produced significantly more expert-like representations of the greenhouse effect, and included fewer novice ideas. The key behaviour that greenhouse gases emit radiation in random directions is new to most students and directly counters common explanations involving reflection and 'trapping' of radiation in the atmosphere. Thus, learning molecular behaviour of greenhouse gases may help students replace non-expert explanatory models. This "Molecular Details" model has not been previously identified, and is unlikely to have emerged from human evaluation of student sketches alone. When teaching the greenhouse effect, we propose that interventions explicitly incorporate greenhouse gas behaviour.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A