Concept of the Earth’s shape in 10 – 15 years old students



The study used a forced-choice test (EARTH-2 test) that was presented to children (N=890) during the Covid-19 pandemic in the form of an online (web-based) survey. It was found that the use of a test adapted to an online survey led to fewer indications of near-scientific answers than when a paper-and-pencil test was used. Every third respondent (38%) inconsistently indicated a spherical Earth when explaining the location of people, trees, clouds, the movement of people and objects, and explained the phenomenon of day and night. In contrast, one in four 15-year-old students surveyed (27%) failed to indicate all the correct answers to the questions in the test.


Shape of the Earth, location of people, day-and-night phenomenon, EARHT-2 test, students

Full Text:



Baldy, E. (2023). Children’s representation of the Earth at the end of elementary school: The role of spherical and geographical information carried by the globe. Review of Science, Mathematics and ICT Education, 17(2), 5-25.

Bar, V., Brosh, Y., & Sneider, C. (2015). Weight, mass, and gravity: Threshold concepts in learning science. Science Educator, 24(2), 1-14.

Bar, V., Zinn, B., Goldmuntz, R., & Sneider, C. (1994). Children’s concepts about weight and free fall. Science Education, 78, 149-169.

Baxter, J. (1989). Children’s understanding of familiar astronomical events. International Journal of Science Education, 11(5), 502-513.

Blown, E. J., & Bryce, T. G. K. (2020). The enduring effects of early-learned ideas and local folklore on children’s Astronomy knowledge. Research in Science Education, 50(5), 1833-1884.

Bryce, T. G. K., & Blown, E. J. (2012). Children’s concepts of the shape and size of the earth, sun and moon. International Journal of Science Education, 35(3), 388-446.

Cox, M., Steegen, A., & Cock, M. D. (2016). How aware are teachers of students’ misconceptions in astronomy? A qualitative analysis in belgium. Science Education International, 27(2), 277-300.

Danaia, L., & McKinnon, D. H. (2007). Common alternative astronomical conceptions encountered in junior secondary science classes: Why is this so? Astronomy Education Review, 6(2), 32-53.

Dunlop, J. (2000). How children observe the universe. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 17(2), 194-206.

Frède, V. (2019). Comprehension of the night and day cycle among French and Cameroonian children aged 7-8 years. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 14(2), 587-615.

Frède, V., Nobes, G., Frappart, S., Panagiotaki, G., Troadec, B., & Martin, A. (2011). The acquisition of scientific knowledge: The influence of methods of questioning and analysis on the interpretation of children’s conceptions of the earth. Infant and Child Development, 20(6), 432-448.

Güçhan Özgül, S. (2021). Integration of inquiry and play: Young children’s conceptual change in Astronomy. Journal of Inquiry Based Activities, 11(1), 1-15.

Güçhan Özgül, S., & Saçkes, M. (2015). Adaptation of Earth-2 scale for Turkish kindergartners. Paper presented at The Annual Meeting of the International Congress of European Early Childhood Education Research Association, Barcelona, Spain.

Hannust, T., & Kikas, E. (2012). Changes in children’s answers to open questions about the earth and gravity. Child Development Research, 22(1), 89-104.

Jelinek, J. A. (2020). Children’s Astronomy. Shape of the earth, location of people on earth and the day/night cycle according to polish children between 5 and 8 years of age. Review of Science, Mathematics and ICT Education, 14(1), 69-87.

Jelinek, J. A. (2021). Children’s Astronomy. Development of the shape of the Earth concept in Polish children between 5 and 10 years of age. Education Sciences, 11(2), 75.

Kampeza, M., & Ravanis, K. (2012). Children’s understanding of the earth’s shape: An instructional approach in early education. Skholê, 17, 115-120.

Kikas, E. (1998). The impact of teaching on students’ definitions and explanations of astronomical phenomena. Learning and Instruction, 8(5), 439-454.

Kurnaz, M. A. (2012). Turkish students’ understandings about some basic astronomy concepts: A cross-grade study. World Applied Sciences Journal, 19(7), 986-997.

Mali, G. B., & Howe, A. (1979). Development of Earth and gravity concepts among Nepali children. Science Education, 63(5), 685-691.

Nobes, G., Frède, V., & Panagiotaki, G. (2023). Astronomers’ representations of the earth and day / night cycle: Implications for children’s acquisition of scientific concepts. Current Psychology, 42(21), 17612-17631.

Nobes, G., Martin, A. E., & Panagiotaki, G. (2005). The development of scientific knowledge of the Earth. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 23(1), 47-64.

Nobes, G., & Panagiotaki, G. (2007). Adults’ representations of the Earth: Implications for children’s acquisition of scientific concepts. British Journal of Psychology, 98, 645-665.

Nussbaum, J. (1979). Children conception of the Earth as a cosmic body: A cross age study. Science Education, 63(1), 83-93.

Nussbaum, J., & Novak, J. (1976). An assessment of children’s concepts of the earth utilizing structured interviews. Science Education, 60, 535-550.

Ozkan, G., & Akcay, H. (2016). Preservice science teachers’ beliefs about astronomy concepts. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 4(9), 2092-2099.

Özsoy, S. (2012). Is the earth flat or round? Primary school children’s understandings of the planet earth: The case of turkish children. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 4(2), 407-415.

Panagiotaki, G., Nobes, G., & Banerjee, R. (2006a). Children’s representations of the earth: A methodological comparison. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 24(2), 353-372.

Panagiotaki, G., Nobes, G., & Banerjee, R. (2006b). Is the world round or flat? Children’s understandingof the earth. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 3(2), 124-141.

Panagiotaki, G., Nobes, G., & Potton, A. (2009). Mental models and other misconceptions in children’s understanding of the earth. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 104, 52-67.

Raviv, A., & Dadon, M. (2020). Teaching astronomy in kindergarten: Children’s perceptions and projects. Athens Journal of Education, 7, 1-22.

Saçkes, M. (2015). Kindergartners’ mental models of the day and night cycle: Implications for instructional practices in early childhood classrooms. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 15(4), 997-1006.

Saçkes, M., Smith, M. M., & Trundle, K. C. (2016). US and Turkish preschoolers’ observational knowledge of astronomy. International Journal of Science Education, 38(1), 116-129.

Schoultz, J., Saljo, R., & Wyndhamn, J. (2001). Heavenly Talk: Discourse, artifacts, and children’s understanding of elementary Astronomy. Human Development, 44, 103-118.

Shaikh, R., Padalkar, S., Stump, G., Sutar, P., & Kumar, A. (2020). Learning basic astronomy through an embodied and interactive approach. Learning Basic Astronomy through an Embodied and Interactive Approach, 3(6), 463-474.

Siegal, M., Butterworth, G., & Newcombe, P. (2004). Culture and children’s cosmology. Developmental Science, 7(3), 308-324.

Sitek, M. (Ed.). (2020). TIMSS 2019 Wyniki międzynarodowego badania osiągnięć czwartoklasistóww matematyce i przyrodzie - TIMSS 2019 Results of an international study of the performance of fourth graders in mathematics and science (pp. 1-182). Intytut Badań Edukacyjnych.

Straatemeier, M., van der Maas, H. L. J., & Jansen, B. R. J. (2008). Children’s knowledge of the earth: A new methodological and statistical approach. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 100(4), 276-296.

Vaiopoulou, J., & Papageorgiou, G. (2018). Primary students’ conceptions of the Earth: Re-examining a fundamental research hypothesis on mental models. Preschool and Primary Education, 6(1), 23-34.

Vosniadou, S., & Brewer, W. F. (1992). Mental models of the earth: A study of conceptual change in childhood. Cognitive Psychology, 24(4), 535-585.

Vosniadou, S., & Brewer, W. F. (1994). Mental models of the day/night cycle. Cognitive Science, 18(1), 123-183.

Vosniadou, S., Ioannides, C., Dimitrakopoulou, A., & Papademetriou, E. (2001). Designing learning environments to promote conceptual change in science. Learning and Instruction, 11(4-5), 381-419.

Yalçınkaya-Önder, E., Timur, B., Özeş, B., & Timur, S. (2020). Astronomy education for preschool children: Exploring the sky. Lnternational Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 12(4), 383-389.


View Counter: Abstract | 91 | times, and PDF | 13 | times

Re S M ICT E | ISSN: 1792-3999 (electronic), 1791-261X (print) | Laboratory of Didactics of Sciences, Mathematics and ICT, Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education - University of Patras.

Pasithee | Library & Information Center | University of Patras