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Before the research I conducted, there were previous research completed in America and Greece. But never in Australia has there been a research about children’s ideas about the shape of the earth. The first research was undertaken as a study of conceptual change, more commonly known as psychology (Vosniadou and Brewer 1992), which studied the metal models of earth. The second research was undertaken in mind/regard of the children’s ideas in science (Nussbaum 1993) to represent earth as a cosmic body. Each research had the exact same four views of how the earth could be broadly categorized by the ideas children gave.
The 4 views of the earth:
1) The Sphere- it is a scientific notion of the earth in a sphere with people living on the surface
2) The Hollow Sphere- the earth is a hollow sphere or ball with people living on a flat section deep inside it
3) Dual Earth- this notion expresses two earths, a round one up in the sky and a flat one where people live
4) Disc Earth- (also known as the pancake earth) the earth is round like a pancake than round like a ball
How these researches-the study of conceptual change (Vosniadou and Brewer 1992) and the children’s ideas in science (Nussbaum 1993) came with these exact four views are expressed in the following tables:
Mental Model (1)- Sphere
Vosniadou and Brewer Nussbaum
– 23 children met the requirements to fit in the spherical earth category- Typically children who kept referring to the mental model of spherical earth, demonstrating a satisfactory and stable knowledge of the aspects of the earth concept, which therefore constantly came with the scientific earth concept – Children who held the notion that demonstrated a satisfactory and stable notion of all 3 aspects of the earth concept was classified under this mental model- The 3 aspects of the earth concept is: 1) a spherical planet 2) Surrounded by space 3) Objects falling into the centre, not in a straight line- The conclusion that presented up after examining and analyising the data, it therefore was said that children can overcome immediate perceptual distractions and respond consistently with the content of the scientific earth concept