Skip to main content
×
×
Home

How Children Observe the Universe

  • John Dunlop (a1)
Abstract

Children who visited Auckland Observatory and Stardome Planetarium in 1998 were surveyed on their ideas about the Earth, the Moon and the Sun. Widespread misconceptions similar to those found in other studies were revealed, however the single teaching session had an impact on children's ideas comparable to that of much longer interventions. Several ideas not reported previously were expressed. For example, two children drew a figure eight orbit for the Earth; circling the Sun during the day, and the Moon at night. Only one child of the 67 surveyed proposed the notion of day and night being caused by the Sun orbiting the Earth. This is in contrast to many other studies. A drawing based pre-post survey proved to be a convenient and powerful tool for revealing changing patterns in children's thinking. The literature surveyed indicated levels of misconceptions about astronomy among teachers and other adults that were nearly as great as those of the children being taught. It would seem a strategic move to provide teachers with sufficient training if they are required to teach astronomy at every level, as has happened with the New Zealand science curriculum. A comparison between different question types suggests that multiple-choice questions may underestimate the knowledge of younger children by over 300% when compared with interview responses. A drawing based question in this study generated up to 41% more correct responses than a multiple-choice question on the same topic.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      How Children Observe the Universe
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      How Children Observe the Universe
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      How Children Observe the Universe
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
Acker, A., & Pecker, J. C. 1990, in The Teaching of Astronomy, ed. J. M. Pasachoff & J. R. Percy (Cambridge Univ. Press), pp. 189–95
Adams, R. J., Doig, B. A., & Rosier, M. 1991, Science Learning in Victorian Schools. 1990, Australian Council for Educational Research Monograph 41 (Melbourne: ACER)
Atwood, R. K., & Atwood, V. A. 1996, Preservice elementary teachers' conceptions of the causes of seasons. J. Res. Science Teaching. 33, 553–63
Baxter, J. 1989, Children's understandings of familiar astronomical events. Int. J. Science Education. 11, 502–13
Baxter, J. 1995, in Learning Science in the Schools. ed. S. M. Glynn & R. Duit (Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum)
Baxter, J. H. 1998, in New Trends in Astronomy Teaching, IAU Colloquiu. 162, ed. L. Gouguenheim, D. McNally & L. R. Percy (Cambridge Univ. Press)
Broughton, M. P. V. 1998, in New Trends in Astronomy Teaching, IAU Colloquiu. 162, ed. L. Gouguenheim, D. McNally & L. R. Percy (Cambridge Univ. Press)
Comins, N. F. 1998, in New Trends in Astronomy Teaching, IAU Colloquiu. 162, ed. L. Gouguenheim, D. McNally & L. R. Percy (Cambridge Univ. Press)
Crookes, T., & Flockton, L. 1996, National Education Monitoring Report 1—Science Assessment Results 1995 (1) (Dunedin: Educational Assessment Unit, University of Otago)
DeBuvitz, W. 1990, The importance of scale drawings. The Phys. Teacher (December).
DeLaughter, J. E., Stein, S., Stein, C., & Bain, K. R. 1998, Rocks for jocks: Preconceptions about the Earth, Eos (August) (see http://www.earth.nwu.edu/people/seth/Test/astro.html)
Driver, R., Squires, A., Rushworth, P., & Wood-Robinson, V. 1994, Making Sense of Secondary Science: Research into Children's Ideas (London & New York: Routledge)
Dunlop, J. A. 1999, Changing children's astronomical ideas. MEd. thesis, University of Auckland
Fetherstonhaugh, T., & Treagust, D. F. 1990, Students' understanding of light and its propagation following a teaching strategy to engender conceptual change. Proc. Conf. of the American Educational Research Association, Boston
Finegold, M., & Pundak, D. 1990, Students' conceptual frameworks in astronomy. Aust. Science Teachers J., 36(2), 7683
Fleer, M. 1997, A cross-cultural study of rural Australian Aboriginal children's understandings of night and day. Res. Science Education. 27, 101–16
Guesne, E. 1985, in Children's Ideas in Science, ed. R. Driver, E. Guesne & A. Tiberghien (Milton Keynes: Open University Press), pp. 1032
Gunstone, R., & Watts, M. 1985, in Children's Ideas in Science, ed. R. Driver, E. Guesne & A. Tiberghien (Milton Keynes: Open University Press), pp. 91–5
Jones, Lynch, & Reesin, . 1987, Children's conceptions of the Earth, Sun and Moon. Int. J. Science Education. 9, 4353
Lightman, A., & Sadler, P. M. 1993, Teacher predictions versus actual student gains. Phys. Teacher. 31, 162–7
Lightman, A. P., Miller, J. D., & Leadbeater, B. J. 1987, Contemporary cosmological beliefs. Second Int. Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics
Noble, A. M. 1998, Using the history of science to teach astronomy in the primary school. MEd. thesis, University of Auckland
Nussbaum, J. 1985, in Children's Ideas in Science, ed. R. Driver, E. Guesne & A. Tiberghien (Milton Keynes: Open University Press), pp. 171–92
Ojala, O. 1992, The third planet. Int. J. Science Education, 14, 191200
Osborne, J., Wadsworth, P., Black, P., & Meadows, J. 1994, The Earth in Space (Liverpool: Liverpool King's SPACE Project)
Parker, J., & Heywood, D. 1998, The Earth and beyond: Developing primary teachers' understanding of basic astronomical events. Int. J. Science Education. 20, 503–20
Philips, W. C. 1991, Earth science misconceptions. The Science Teacher (February), 21–3
Ruggiero, S., Cartielli, A., Dupre, F., & Vicenti-Missoni, M. 1985, Weight gravity and air pressure: Mental representations by Italian middle-school pupils. European J. Science Education, 7, 181–94
Selley, N. J. 1996, Children's ideas on light and vision. Int. J. Science Education. 18, 713–23
Sharp, J. G. 1996, Children's astronomical beliefs: A preliminary study of year 6 children in southwest England. Int. J. Science Education. 18, 685712
Sharp, J. G. 1999, Teaching and learning astronomy in primary schools. School Science Review, 80(292), 7585
Skamp, K. 1994, Determining misconceptions about astronomy. Aust. Science Teachers J., 40(3), 63–7
Sneider, C. I., & Ohadi, M. M. 1998, Unraveling students' misconceptions about the Earth's shape and gravity. Science Education. 82, 265–84
Stahly, L. L., Krockover, G. H., & Shepardson, D. P. 1999, Third grade students' ideas about the lunar phases. J. Res. Science Teaching. 36, 159–77
Stead, K., & Osborne, R. 1980a, Gravity: LISP Working Paper 20 (Hamilton: Science Education Research Unit, University of Waikato)
Stead, B. F., & Osborne, R. J. 1980b, Exploring student's concepts of light. Aust. Science Teachers' J., 26(3), 8490
Taylor, I. J. 1996, Illuminating lunar phases. The Science Teacher (November), 3941
Vicentini-Missoni, M. 1981, Earth and gravity comparison between adults' and children's' knowledge. Int. Workshop on Problems Concerning Students' Representation of Physics and Chemistry Knowledge, Pedagogische Hochshule, Ludwigsburg
Vosniadou, S. 1991, Designing curricula for conceptual restructuring: Lessons from the study of knowledge aquisition in astronomy. J. Curriculum Studies. 23, 219–37
Vosniadou, S., & Brewer, W. F. 1994, Mental models of the day/night cycle. Cognitive Science. 18, 123–84
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
  • ISSN: 1323-3580
  • EISSN: 1448-6083
  • URL: /core/journals/publications-of-the-astronomical-society-of-australia
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 557 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 963 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.