Children's concepts of the earth and the sun: A cross cultural study
The conceptual schemes that form the basis of many elementary school science programs frequently include concepts about the and the sun. Recent studies assessing children’s concepts of the Earth, (Nussbaum & Novak, 1976; Nussbaum, 1979; Mali & Howe, 1979) have shown that elementary school children hold many different notions about the shape of the Earth, the Earth as an object and the Earth’s gravity. This study was designed to assess the understanding of selected Earth and sun system concepts of the second grade children participating in the study. The concepts assessed were included in the curriculum of the school district and had been taught in grades one and two. In addition to determining what individual children “know”, this study was designed to find out if there are differences in the kinds of explanations given and the developmental patterns of the Mexican-American and Anglo-American children in the study. In a society that is becoming more multi-cultural, particularly in some metropolitan areas, there is a need to find out if such differences exist so that a science curriculum which effectively addresses those differences can be designed and implemented. The third area of investigation was to determine if there are identifiable differences between concept understanding and in the kinds of explanations given by the boys and the girls in the study.