The results of a topic-interest study on geosciences among 14- to 17-year-old school students are reported. The research was organized in the framework of the European project Geoschools to investigate the interest of students in the context of teaching strategies for geosciences in secondary schools. A questionnaire was designed as the main data-collection tool, based on the results of a comparison on geosciences curricula among the five European countries (Austria, Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Spain) which are the partners in the GEOschools project. The present study focuses on results from Greece and Spain but also includes preliminary results from Italy, for comparison purposes. Questionnaires were distributed in 20 schools (through 20 teachers with around 600 students) in each participating country. Specifically, a sample of 554, 14- to 15-year-old students were surveyed in 20 schools across Greece, a sample of 155, 14- to 17-year-old students was surveyed in seven schools in Aragón (Spain), and a sample of 624, 14- and 16-year-old children was surveyed in 11 schools in Sicily (Italy) to identify their main topics of interest in geosciences. Additional surveys in Spain in Castilla-La Mancha (Guadalajara), Madrid, Catalonia, and in the province of Gerona (134 students, 14–17 years old) and from Portugal (284 students) are still in the process of evaluation. Results indicate that the most attractive topics for children are Natural Hazards and Palaeontology. Teaching strategies also raise interest. Children from Spain generally show less interest in geosciences than do children of the same age from Greece. A discussion on the high educational potential of geological heritage is included, providing clear case examples for showing geological problems.
Geoschools Interest research Geodidactics Earth sciences Geological heritage