Russell, Terry, Derek Bell, Ken Longden, and Linda McGuigan

Rocks, Soil, and Weather

Liverpool University Press

ISBN 0-85323-497-3
Price: 7.00

Grade focus: K-2, 3-5

This report is one of a series developed by the Primary SPACE Project (Science Processes and Concept Exploration), based jointly at the Department of Education, University of Liverpool, and the Center for Educational Studies, King's College London, UK. The series describes research conducted by researchers and teachers to understand the ideas which elementary school children have in particular science concept areas and how students modify their ideas as the result of brief teaching interventions.

This report contains: (1) a summary of previous research into children's ideas related to soil, rocks, the earth's structure, and weather; (2) a description of student ideas about rocks, soil, and the weather, before they received any formal experiences relating to these concepts; (3) a description of the teaching intervention that was intended to encourage students to develop their ideas; (4) a description of student ideas after the teaching intervention (note: student's ideas of weather were elicited only before the intervention); and (5) a summary of the research findings and implications for curriculum and instruction. Appendices include brief descriptions of the interview tasks that were used to explore student ideas, and of the activities within the teaching interventions. Excerpts from student interviews and samples of student drawings and written work appear throughout the report.

Some findings include: After the intervention, increased proportions of students thought of soil as a complex mixture, rather than as a homogenous material; recognized that soil contains different sized particles of the same inorganic constituent and that it contains living organisms; recognized that soil can be transformed and mentioned the sea and rain as agents of transformation; and drew layers of rock when asked about what may lie beneath the surface of the earth.

Other titles in the series include: The Earth in Space, Evaporation and Condensation, Growth, Light, Materials, Processes of Life, and Sound.