Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsKubiatko, M, Prokop, P
JournalJournal of Baltic Science Education
Start Page5-14
Date PublishedMarch/2007
Type of ArticleOriginal article
Other NumbersICID: 482260
Keywordsage, animals, mammals, misconception, pupils

A misconception about animals has been reported in various research reports on the pupils of all age groups. However, deeper study on the children’s concepts about mammals has never been conducted. This study suggests the ideas about mammals put forward by the children aged from 10 to 15. A questionnaire with 35 multiple choice and open - ended questions were administered to 468 children from 6 elementary schools in Slovakia. The children’s ideas were examined in five dimensions (animal classification and phylogeny; food; foraging strategies; parental care; senses, morphology and anatomy). Serious misconceptions about mammals across all age groups were found out. Our data provides direct implications for teaching biology.
This study showed that Slovakian elementary school pupils had serious problems with several concepts about mammals. Our data corroborate previous findings about misidentification of common mammals with other animals (see Kellert, 1985; Trowbridge & Mintzes, 1985, 1988; Braund, 1991, 1998). Moreover, the follow up questions showed that although most of the pupils were aware that a whale is a mammal, they were less sure that whales suck milk or feed on plankton. These findings are in line with our current research focused on the children’ concepts about birds (Prokop, Kubiatko & Fancovicova, acceptted manuscript) and support a necessity of using the multiple questions focused on the same topic rather than using a simple question. Moreover, these data have direct implications for biology practise and can be applied internationally.

Refereed DesignationRefereed