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Nordic Studies in Science Education;8 (2)
The water cycle is introduced at grade 3 in science textbooks. The topic is continued at grades 6/7, and further developed at grades 8/9 both in science and geography textbooks. The water cycle is one of the “big ideas in science”. This investigation is about how the water cycle is presented in textbooks, if the texts and illustrations are adapted to the pupils’ age level, and how the textbooks simplify this rather complex topic. Could the simplifications foster misconceptions? The investigation shows some progression from the introduction at grade 3 via grades 6/7 to grades 8/9. However, the texts and illustrations might give the pupils a representation of the water cycle as to be local, one dimensional, limited to the atmosphere, oceans, rivers and lakes; and to take only a few hours or days pr. cycle. If not the textbooks are supplied by teaching, the pupils might leave compulsory education with a naive understanding of the water cycle.
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