A study of junior high students' perceptions of the water cycle

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This study explored junior high school students' perceptions of the water cycle. The study sample included 1,000 junior high school students (7th-9th grades) from six urban schools, in Israel. The data collection was based on a series of quantitative and qualitative research tools that were specifically developed for this study. The findings indicated that the students understand various hydro-bio-geological processes, but most of them lack the dynamic, cyclic, and systemic perceptions of the system. Moreover, they possessed an incomplete picture of the water cycle including many preconceptions and misconce tions about it. Most of the sample population studies were aware of the atmospheric part of the water cycle, but ignored its groundwater part. Moreover, those who included part of the underground system in the water cycle perceived the underground water as static, sub-surface lakes. It is suggested that the findings reflect the traditional disciplinary approach of the dealing with subject of water in the science curricula. This study also implies the need for further research about the cognitive abilities of junior high students to deal with cyclic-systems thinking, and the need to explore activities that might develop or stimulate suc abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-373
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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