Lower secondary students' views in astrobiology

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Astrobiology is, on a profound level, about whether life exists outside of theplanet Earth. The question of existence of life elsewhere in the universe has been of interestto many societies throughout history. Recently, the research area of astrobiology has grownat a fast rate, mainly due to the development of observational methods, and the media isfrequently reporting on new research findings. International surveys show that astrobiologyquestions are among those that interest young people the most. The popularity of astrobiologyand the way it captures much science content makes it an interesting area for scienceteaching. However, there is very little research directly focused upon students’ views inastrobiology. The study reported in this paper draws from the answers of 186 Swedish lowersecondary students (16 years old) to a questionnaire, with closed and open-ended questionsregarding their views of issues in astrobiology. The study was guided by the worldviewtheory (Cobern 1991; Cobern, Science Education 80(5):579–610, 1996; Cobern, Scienceand Education 9:219–246, 2000). The results show that even though basic reasoning inastrobiology is known by a majority of the students, there is a considerable number ofstudents, for whom this is not the case. Furthermore, it was found that for all questions, thereare students answering in different ways when asked to describe their own view and the viewthey associate with science researchers. The implications of the study for further researchand for the teaching of astrobiology in science class are discussed.

Sidor (från-till)1957-1978
Antal sidor21
TidskriftResearch in Science Education
StatusPublicerad - 2013

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