Misconceptions about the Greenhouse Effect
Catherine Gautier, Katie Deutsch, Stacy Rebich 2006 Journal of Geoscience Education v54 p386-395

Studies have shown that both students and the general public possess many misconceptions about the processes involved in the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion. This study, conducted in a mock summit class on global climate change, explored the level of understanding and the nature of students' misconceptions about climate. Several times throughout the class, students responded to a set of questions about the greenhouse effect. Through analysis of their responses, we were able to track changes in students' mental models, evaluate the degree to which they were able to overcome misconceptions, and assess the permanence of the newly achieved understanding. Based on these results, we comment on the potential role of these students in public decision making related to global climate change, and discuss ways in which misconceptions could impede sound judgment on issues related to climate policy. Based on previous experiences with both teaching and assessing student learning about global climate change, we propose key principles that we consider minimum knowledge for an undergraduate student in Earth Science. We suggest that Earth science educators should focus on identification of key principles in all areas of the discipline and use those as the basis for curriculum development.



Climate Literacy Principles: Complex Interactions, Human Activities and Change, Sun Drives Earth System, The Nature of Science
Research on Learning: Geoscience Expertise:Complex Systems, Cognitive Domain:Misconceptions/barriers to learning