This paper focuses on the development of understandings of the ecological concepts of energy flow and materials cycling of middle school students. It is based on a qualitative analysis of individual interviews with 6 students in an urban area of the southern US conducted every year over a 5-year period in 2004–2008, starting in grade 4 and finishing in grade 8. In addition to their formal education, all of the students participated in three outdoor earth education programs (Earthkeepers, Sunship Earth & Sunship III) over a 4-year period. Specifically, the study analyzed what misconceptions connected with energy and matter emerged and how students’ conceptual understanding developed over time. In addition, it discusses the possible effects of educational programs on participating students. The study demonstrates the non-linear process of conceptual change, constrained by a few persistent students’ misconceptions. The study also discusses potential implications for the practice of outdoor educational programs.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Studies in Educational Evaluation|
|State||Published - Dec 2019|
- Ecological concepts
- Environmental education
ASJC Scopus subject areas