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ERIC Number: EJ866756
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1533-015X
An Assessment of Students' Understanding of Ecosystem Concepts: Conflating Ecological Systems and Cycles
Jordan, Rebecca; Gray, Steven; Demeter, Marylee; Lui, Lei; Hmelo-Silver, Cindy E.
Applied Environmental Education and Communication, v8 n1 p40-48 2009
Teaching ecological concepts in schools is important in promoting natural science and environmental education for young learners. Developing educational programs is difficult, however, because of complicated ecological processes operating on multiple levels, the unlimited nature of potential system interactions (given the openness of systems), and their often-times nonlinear dynamic processes. To understand how to effectively support learning requires first understanding how students organize their ideas and develop conceptions about the nature of ecological processes. This study investigates understanding of ecological processes using aquaria as a model closed system in a science classroom. Understanding was assessed using worksheets completed during classroom instruction. Student responses and models were coded to elucidate naive conceptions and conceptual shifts. Our data make salient an area in which students confuse related concepts with respect to ecosystems and cycles and offer suggestions on how to address student understanding of ecological concepts, such as the explicit delineation of systems and cycles. (Contains 3 tables and 2 figures.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey