Fifth Graders' Views of Atmosphere

By Jari Kukkonen, Sirpa Kärkkäinen and Tuula Keinonen.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Fifth graders’ (n=20) views about atmosphere were examined in the context of a simulation-based studying process in chemistry and physics education; pupils were scaffolded during several stages of the learning process. Both before and after instructional intervention, pupils were asked to draw and write about the atmosphere, clouds and greenhouse effect and after intervention, twelve of the pupils were also interviewed. Prior to intervention, pupils’ drawings about atmosphere generally included one or two gases, especially oxygen and carbon dioxide; they also drew and wrote about how rain forms. After intervention, pupils mentioned several gases and explained their role in the atmosphere. Simulation provides an opportunity for pupils to understand that the atmosphere protects us from Sun’s ultraviolet radiation as well as regulating a suitable temperature for us. This, pupils were able to describe after instruction. They explained how clouds prevent heat escaping from the Earth's surface and reflect some of the sunlight back to Space.

Keywords: Atmosphere, Simulation, Scaffolding

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.113-129. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.089MB).

Jari Kukkonen

Project Researcher, School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

MSc (Mathematics), currently project researcher, has worked in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) in education since 1990. Main interest in the use of ICT in education, teacher learning.

Dr. Sirpa Kärkkäinen

Senior Lecturer, School of Applied Education and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland

Doctor Sirpa Kärkkäinen is a Senior Lecturer in Biology and Geography at the University of Eastern Finland. She works with primary and secondary school teacher students and gives lectures focusing on science education especially biology, geography and environmental education. Her research areas focus on Teacher education especially at the primary school level, in particular inquiry based learning and collaborative learning. In addition, more current research deals with issues such as informal learning environments, collaborative inquiry learning with social software, education about medicines and education for sustainable development (plant identification, biodiversity). She has taught biology and geography for nine years in a variety of secondary schools. Her qualifications are M.Sc. in Biology (1992) and Ph.D in Education (2004) concerning biology didactics and ecology.

Prof. Tuula Keinonen

Professor, School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland, Finland

Since 1998 I have been working as a professor of education. Mainly I work with primary school teacher students. My research interests are in teacher education, environmental and science education and I prefer research in physics and chemistry education because of my background in physics. However working in all levels of education belong to my activities.