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TitleChildren's conceptions about microorganisms and health
Author(s)Carvalho, Graça Simões de
Mafra, Paulo
Lima, Nelson
Alternative conceptions
Health Education
Issue date2018
PublisherEuropean Science Education Research Association (ESERA)
CitationCarvalho, G.S., Mafra, P. & Lima, N. (2018) Children's conceptions about microorganisms and health. In: Electronic Proceedings of the ESERA 2017 Conference. Research, Practice and Collaboration in Science Education, Part 16 (co-ed. P. Kariotoglou & Terry Russell), pp. 2122-2129. Dublin, Ireland: Dublin City University
Abstract(s)Children’s alternative conceptions on microorganisms and health are little studied in the literature. Several international studies have shown that these conceptions are incomplete, divergent from scientific knowledge and resistant to change, often even after formal education. This study aimed to identify children’s conceptions about microorganisms and health before the formal education of this content (5th grade) and two years after (7th grade). A questionnaire consisting of closed questions was applied to 439 pupils. Most pupils associate microorganisms with the disease and recognize the reason they should be vaccinated. Contrary to results in other studies, pupils associate vaccines with disease prevention rather than disease cure. Some children do not directly associate behaviours related to their hygiene and the need to disinfect wounds with the elimination of undesirable microorganisms. Also the beneficial aspects of the microorganisms are little recognized by the pupils. Statistical analysis showed significant differences (p <0.05) between the two groups in some answers. It is necessary to improve the approach to microorganisms right away in primary school. Textbooks and teachers should give more emphasis on the justification of personal hygiene and the beneficial aspects of microorganisms.
TypeConference paper
Publisher version
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CIEC - Textos em atas

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