Cultural differences and students' spontaneous models of the water cycle: A case study of Jewish and Bedouin children in Israel

Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf, Haim Eshach, Nir Orion, Yousif Alamour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present research aims at pinpointing differences in spontaneous and non-spontaneous mental models of water cycle conceptions of two 4th grade student groups: the Jewish residents of a small provincial town and a group of students from an indigenous Bedouin community. Students' conceptions were elicited using the Repertory Grid technique as well by being asked to draw "what happens to water in nature?" In later interviews, in addition to answering specially designed open-ended interview questions, the students were also requested to elaborate on their drawings and responses to the Repertory Grid technique. The Bedouin students were found to have richer mental models of water cycle phenomena; their models included more components of the water cycle and were more authentic and connected to other natural phenomena. On the other hand, Bedouin students also employed theological explanations to make sense of water cycle phenomena. These findings, as well as methodological issues relating to spontaneous and non-spontaneous models elicitation are discussed and implications for instruction are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-477
Number of pages27
JournalCultural Studies of Science Education
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012

Keywords

  • Earth Science education
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • Science learning
  • Water cycle

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