Environmental mental models of primary school students: Are they related to gender and grade level? İlkokul öğrencilerinin “çevre” kavramı hakkındaki zihinsel modelleri

Çalış-şaşı D., Balcı S.

International Electronic Journal of Environmental Education, vol.11, no.2, pp.127-144, 2021 (Scopus) identifier


© 2021, International Electronic Journal of Environmental Education. All rights reserved.The purpose of this study is to determine the mental models of primary school students about the concept of environment. The research group consisted of 400 students, 219 girls and 181 boys, enrolling to the 3rd and 4th grade in a primary school located in İstanbul. The students were asked to draw the environment and explain the items they draw. Students’ drawings were converted into quantitative data and scored with Draw an Environment Test-Rubric. When the drawings were examined, it was found that there are 110 different items related to the concept of environment. These items include biotic elements such as humans, different kinds of animals and plants, as well as abiotic elements such as sun, cloud, rain and sea. It was seen that there are also elements of artificial environment such as houses, cars, schools, factories and roads. Mann-Whitney U Test was used in statistical comparisons to determine the difference between the total scores obtained from the drawings according to grade level and gender. While there was a significant difference between the scores of the 3rd and 4th grade students (MD3rd grade=189,46 n=200, MD4th grade =211,54 n=200, U=17792, p=.04), no significant difference was found in the comparisons made according to the gender (MDgirls=205,92 n=219, MDboys=193,94 n=181, U=18632,50, p=.29). The drawings showed that the majority of the students do not see humans as a part of the environment and they have unscientific and missing mental models about the environment.