Exploring Elementary Students’ Understanding of Energy and Climate Change



As environmental changes become a significant societal issue, elementary science curricula need to develop students’ understanding about the key concepts of energy and climate change. For teachers, developing quality learning experiences involves establishing what their students’ prior understanding about energy and climate change are. A survey was developed to explore what elementary students know and understand about renewable and non-renewable sources of energy and their relationship to climate change issues. The findings from this survey are reported in this paper.


Elementary Students, Energy, Climate Change

Paper Details

Paper Details
Topic Elementary Education
Pages 1 - 15
Issue IEJEE, Volume 1, Issue 1
Date of acceptance 01 October 2008
Read (times) 510
Downloaded (times) 217

Author(s) Details


Charles Sturt University, Australia


Board of Studies (2006). Science and Technology K-6. Outcomes and indicators. Sydney: Office of the Board of Studies.

Boyes, J. & Stanisstreet, M. (1997). Children’s Models of Understanding of Two MajorGlobal Environmental Issues (Ozone Layer and Greenhouse Effect). Research inScience and Technological Education, 15(1), 19-29.

Cavanagh, S. (2007). Lessons About Climate Change Pose Many Challenges for Science Teachers. Educational Week, 27:10, 1 – 16. Retrieved on 1st November 2007, from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2007/10/31/10warming.h27.html?print=1

Corney, G. (2000). Student geography teachers’ pre-conceptions about teaching environmental topics. Environmental Education Research, 6(4), 313-329.

Dawson, C. (1997). Science teaching in the secondary schools. Sydney: Longmans.

Driver, R. (1985). Research into Childrens’ Ideas Book 2. London: Routledge.

The Key Stone Centre (2007). CSI Climate Status Investigations. Retrieved on 4th November 2007, from http://www.keystonecurriculum.org

Kirwood, V. & Carr, M. (1988). Learning In Science Project (Energy) Final Report. Science Education Research Unit, University of Waikato – Hamilton Teachers’ College Hamilton, NZ.

Osborne, R. &Freyberg, P. (1985). Learning in Science: The implications of children’s science. Melbourne: Heinemann.

Papadimitriou, V. (2004). Prospective primary teachers’ understanding of climate change, greenhouse effects and ozone layer depletion. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 13(2), 299-307.

Trumper, R. (1997). The need for change in elementary school teaching. Educational Research, 39(2), 157–174.

Tytler, R. (2002). Teaching for understanding in science: student conceptions research and changing views of learning. Australian Science Teachers’ Journal, 48(3), 14-21.