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Durham e-Theses
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Primary school pupils' perceptions of contour patterns

Boardman, David (1996) Primary school pupils' perceptions of contour patterns. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The aims of the research are to investigate the ways in which primary school children perceive common contour patterns and to identify some of the problems which they encounter in learning the concept of contours. Research into children's understanding of maps carried out by geographers and psychologists is reviewed. The place of contour maps in the school curriculum is examined and methods of teaching the concept of contours are described. A class of children in their final year of primary education were taught the concept of contours by building a relief model from a contour map. In the first stage of the research the pupils were tested individually on their understanding of heights and slopes, and were asked to match contour patterns with cardboard layer models. In the second stage of the research they were again tested on their understanding of heights and slopes using a new map, and were asked to match contour patterns on the map with painted plywood and plaster relief models. The questions and answers were tape recorded and the transcripts were analysed to provide both quantitative and qualitative data. It is suggested that errors made by the pupils were perceptual as well as conceptual in nature. The implications for teaching contours in the national curriculum are discussed and attention is drawn to the potential benefits of collaborative research between geographers and psychologists.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1996
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:49

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