Research in Science Education

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 541–552 | Cite as

Children's use of metaphors in relation to their mental models: The case of the ozone layer and its depletion

  • Vasilia Christidou
  • Vasilis Koulaidis
  • Theodor Christidis
Article

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between children's use of metaphors and their mental models concerning the ozone layer and the ozone layer depletion. Our study was based on semistructured, individual interviews with primary school Greek pupils. The analysis of data pointed to the construction of a limited number of models concerning the role of the ozone layer and the process of its depletion. A parallel analysis of the transcripts focused on the metaphorical statements pupils used while discussing the same issues. These statements were classified in categories such as persons, substances, and objects (containers, dividing surfaces, absorbing or reflecting surfaces, or holes). The results of the two dimensions of the analysis were correlated. It is found that there exist correlations between the ontological basis of metaphors and the particular models children use in order to understand and explain the role and depletion of the ozone layer. Thus, metaphors can be used as educational tools, so as to enhance understanding in the case of the ozone layer and its depletion.

Keywords

Ozone Mental Model Ozone Depletion Ozone Layer Target Domain 

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Copyright information

© Australian Science Research Association 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vasilia Christidou
    • 2
  • Vasilis Koulaidis
    • 2
  • Theodor Christidis
    • 1
  1. 1.Aristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Department of EducationUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece

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