Children’s conceptions of deserts in primary school pupils in spatial contexts

Journal / Conference: Geographical Information
Authors: Petr Trahorsch, Jan D. Bláha, Pavel Mlýnek, Barbora Koníčková
Year: 2022
Number: 1
Category of Publication: Article in Journal
Pages, web: 167–179
Keywords: children’s conceptions, desert, mental map, misconception, children’s drawing
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Abstract: The aim of the paper is to evaluate the state of children’s conceptions and possible misconceptions regarding spatial contexts of deserts among lower secondary school students. To fulfill the aim, a combination of two research methods was used, namely the analysis of children’s drawings and mental mapping. It is this combination of methods that can identify the spatial context of children’s conceptions of pupils with different assumptions. The results of the study carried out among 592 respondents show that pupils have a very stereotyped and glorified concept of the desert; individuals imagine the desert mainly as a sandy area with minimal rainfall and typical flora and fauna, such as cactus, palm tree, camel, etc. The vast majority of students are able to locate deserts in North Africa, but in other regions they have a problem with localization. A common misconception is the localization of deserts in the region of central South America, i.e., in the region where tropical rainforests are found.
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