Water Towers, Pump Houses, and Mountain Streams: Students' Ideas about Watersheds
Daniel P. Shepardson, Jon Harbor, Bryan Wee September 2005 2005 Journal of Geoscience Education v53 p381
The watershed concept is important in many areas of geology and environmental science, and the purpose of this study was to investigate students' ideas about watersheds and how these ideas change across grade level. To elicit students' ideas about watersheds a task was developed that required students to draw a picture of a watershed and explain their drawing. In general, students understand a watershed from a very limited scientific perspective. This perspective evolved as the students progressed through middle and high school, but remained incomplete. For all students, humans do not appear to be a part of a watershed, but separate from it. The study suggests ways to improve student perceptions of watersheds, and concludes that in order for students to develop a watershed ethic that will enable them to become informed decision makers in the future; they need to assimilate more knowledge about watersheds than they do in current science courses.