The origin, structure and development of children's concepts of the Earth


Martin, Alan Elliot 2005. The origin, structure and development of children's concepts of the Earth. Thesis University of East London
AuthorsMartin, Alan Elliot

The research contained in this thesis was designed to assess the origin, structure and
development of children's concepts of the earth. The research programme began as an
evaluation of Vosniadou's mental model theory (Vosniadou & Brewer, 1992.
However, Vosniadou's findings were not replicated and the research programme
became focused on developing an alternative account of conceptual development
using a range of novel research methods to assess children's concepts of the earth.
The thesis begins with a review of the relevant theories and research into children's
conceptual development in general and children's concepts of the earth in particular.
The first empirical study is an exploration of children's concepts of the earth and the
results indicate that Vosniadou's mental model theory is not supported.
The second study is a methodological comparison between the drawing method used
by Vosniadou and the 3D model selection method used in the first study. This
establishes that there are flaws with the drawing method and that the 3D model
method is a more sensitive method of assessing children's concepts of the earth.
The third study involves the use of wh- questions to compel children to make explicit
the reasoning behind their thinking about the earth. This reveals that children's
thinking about the earth lacks coherence.
The forth study consisted of a pictorial Q-sort of iconic representations of the earth.
This revealed children' depth of preference for some properties of the earth over
The fifth study involved an investigation of children's concept of gravity and revealed
that children's thinking in this domain also lacks the coherence.
The thesis ends with a summary of the research findings and a proposed model for the
origin, structure and development of children's concepts of the earth.

Keywordschild development; Vosniadou's mental model theory
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Deposited09 May 2011
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This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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