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Open Access research that is helping to improve educational outcomes for children

Strathprints makes available scholarly Open Access content by researchers in the School of Education, including those researching educational and social practices in curricular subjects. Research in this area seeks to understand the complex influences that increase curricula capacity and engagement by studying how curriculum practices relate to cultural, intellectual and social practices in and out of schools and nurseries.

Research at the School of Education also spans a number of other areas, including inclusive pedagogy, philosophy of education, health and wellbeing within health-related aspects of education (e.g. physical education and sport pedagogy, autism and technology, counselling education, and pedagogies for mental and emotional health), languages education, and other areas.

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Children's concepts of the shape and size of the earth, sun and moon

Bryce, Thomas and Blown, Eric (2013) Children's concepts of the shape and size of the earth, sun and moon. International Journal of Science Education, 35 (3). pp. 388-446. ISSN 0950-0693

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Children's understandings of the shape and relative sizes of the Earth, Sun and Moon have been extensively researched and in a variety of ways. Much is known about the confusions which arise as young people try to grasp ideas about the world and our neighbouring celestial bodies. Despite this, there remain uncertainties about the conceptual models which young people use and how they theorise in the process of acquiring more scientific conceptions. In this article, the relevant published research is reviewed critically and in-depth in order to frame a series of investigations using semi-structured interviews carried out with 248 participants aged 3–18 years from China and New Zealand. Analysis of qualitative and quantitative data concerning the reasoning of these subjects (involving cognitive categorisations and their rank ordering) confirmed that (a) concepts of Earth shape and size are embedded in a 'super-concept' or 'Earth notion' embracing ideas of physical shape, 'ground' and 'sky', habitation of and identity with Earth; (b) conceptual development is similar in cultures where teachers hold a scientific world view and (c) children’s concepts of shape and size of the Earth, Sun and Moon can be usefully explored within an ethnological approach using multi-media interviews combined with observational astronomy. For these young people, concepts of the shape and size of the Moon and Sun were closely correlated with their Earth notion concepts and there were few differences between the cultures despite their contrasts. Analysis of the statistical data used Kolmogorov–Smirnov Two-Sample Tests with hypotheses confirmed at K–S alpha level 0.05; rs: p<0.01.