Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 238–251 | Cite as

Teaching Air Pollution in an Authentic Context

  • Achilleas Mandrikas
  • Dimitrios Stavrou
  • Constantine Skordoulis


This paper describes a teaching-learning sequence (TLS) about air pollution and the findings resulting from its implementation by pre-service elementary teachers (PET) currently undergraduate students of the Department of Primary Education in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. The TLS focused on the relation of air pollution with wind and topography in local conditions. An authentic context was provided to the students based on daily up-to-date meteorological data via the Internet in order to estimate air pollution. The results are encouraging given that PET can correlate wind and concentration of air pollutants through reading specialized angular diagrams and weather maps, can recognize the correlation of topography in the concentration of air pollutants, and can describe temperature inversion. However, the PET demonstrated clear difficulties in ability of orientation, in wind naming, and in interpretation of symbols on weather map. Finally, the implications on teaching air pollution are discussed.


Teaching air pollution Wind Topography Pre-service elementary teachers 


  1. Boyes E, Stanisstreet M, Spiliotopoulou-Papantoniou V (1999) The ideas of Greek high school students about the “ozone layer”. Sci Educ 83(6):724–737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boyes Ε, Myers G, Skamp K, Stanisstreet M, Yeung S (2007) Air quality: a comparison of students’ conceptions and attitudes across the continents. Compare: A journal of comparative education 37(4):425–445Google Scholar
  3. Brown F (2000) The effect of an inquiry-oriented environmental science course on preservice elementary teachers’ attitudes about science. J Elem Sci Educ 12(2):1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bybee RW (2000) Teaching science as inquiry. In: Minstrell J, van Zee EH (eds) Inquiring into inquiry learning and teaching in science. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, pp. 20–46Google Scholar
  5. Chinn CA, Hmelo-Silver CE (2002) Authentic inquiry: introduction to the special section. Sci Educ 86(2):171–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen L, Manion L, Morrison K (2007) Research methods in education, 6th edn. Routledge Publishers, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Cunningham WP, Cunningham MA (2008) Environmental science: a global concern, 10th edn. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Dillon J, Scott W (2002) Editorial—perspectives on environmental education-related research in science education. Int J Sci Educ 24(11):1111–1117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dove J (1998) Alternative conceptions about the weather. Sch Sci Rev 79(289):65–69Google Scholar
  10. Edelson DC (2007) Environmental science for all? Considering environmental science for inclusion in the high school core curriculum. Sci Educ 16(1):42–56Google Scholar
  11. Henriques L (2002) Children’s ideas about weather: a review of the literature. Sch Sci Math 102(5):202–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hespanha SR, Goodchild F, Janelle DG (2009) Spatial thinking and technologies in the undergraduate social science classroom. J Geogr High Educ 33(S1):17–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hewitt CN, Jackson A (2003) Handbook of atmospheric sciences—principles and applications. Blackwell Publishing, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Howitt D, Cramer D (2001) A guide to computing statistics with SPSS for windows version 10. Pearson Education LimitedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kahl JDW (2001) Weather forecasting using the Internet. Sci Teach 2001:22–25Google Scholar
  16. Khalid T (2001) Pre-service teachers’ misconceptions regarding three environmental issues. Can J Environ Educ 6:102–120Google Scholar
  17. Lalas D, Asimakopoulos D, Deligiorgi D, Helmis C (1983) Sea breeze circulation and photochemical pollution in Athens, Greece. Atmos Environ 17(9):1621–1632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lee J, Bednarz R (2009) Effect of GIS learning on spatial thinking. J Geogr High Educ 33(2):183–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lee H-S, Butler-Songer N (2003) Making authentic science accessible to students. Int J Sci Educ 25(8):923–948CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Linn MC (1998) The impact of technology on science instruction: historical trends and current opportunities. In: Fraser BJ, Tobin KG (eds) International handbook of science education. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 265–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mandrikas A, Skordoulis C, Halkia K (2013a) Pre-service elementary teachers’ conceptions about wind. Int J Sci Educ 35(11):1902–1924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mandrikas A, Parkosidis I, Psomiadis P, Stoumpa A, Chalkidis A, Mavrikaki E, Skordoulis C (2013b) Improving pre-service elementary teachers’ education via a laboratory course on air pollution: one university’s experience. J Sci Educ Technol 22(2):113–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Means B (1998) Melding authentic science, technology, and inquiry-based teaching: experiences of the GLOBE program. J Sci Educ Technol 7(1):97–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Meyer S (2006) A new perspective on surface weather maps. Science Activities 42(4):3–9Google Scholar
  25. Minstrell J, Van Zee EH (eds) (2000) Inquiring into inquiry learning and teaching in science. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  26. Moussiopoulos N, Papalexiou S, Sahm P (2006) Wind flow and photochemical air pollution in Thessaloniki, Greece. Part I: simulations with the European Zooming Mode. Environ Model Softw 21:1741–1751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Myers G, Boyes E, Stanisstreet M (2004) School students’ ideas about air pollution: knowledge and attitudes. Research in Science and Technological Education 22(2):133–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Osborne J, Dillon J (eds) (2010) Good practice in science education: what research has to say, 2nd edn. McGraw-Hill & Open University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Papadimitriou V (2004) Prospective primary teachers’ understanding of climate change, greenhouse effect, and ozone layer depletion. J Sci Educ Technol 13(2):299–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Skamp K, Boyes E, Stanisstreet M (2003) Teaching about air quality. Aust Sci Teach J 49(2):12–21Google Scholar
  31. Skamp K, Boyes E, Stanisstreet M (2004) Students’ ideas and attitudes about air quality. Res Sci Educ 34(3):313–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Skordoulis C, Sotirakou M (2005) Environment: science and education. Leader Books, Athens (in Greek) Google Scholar
  33. Songer NB (1996) Exploring learning opportunities in coordinated network-enhanced classrooms: a case of kids as global scientists. Journal of the Learning Sciences 5(4):297–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Thornber J, Stanisstreet M, Boyes E (1999) School students’ ideas about air pollution: hindrance or help for learning? J Sci Educ Technol 8(1):67–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ucar S, Trundle KC, Krissek L (2011) Inquiry-based instruction with archived, online data: an intervention study with preservice teachers. Res Sci Educ 41(2):261–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. UNESCO (2005) UN decade of education for sustainable development 2005–2014, draft international implementation scheme. UNESCO, ED/2005/PI/H/1, ParisGoogle Scholar
  37. Varotsos CΑ, Efstathiou MΝ, Kondratyev ΚΥ (2003) Long-term variation in surface ozone and its precursors in Athens, Greece—a forecasting tool. Environ Sci Pollut Res 10(1):19–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Whittaker TM, Ackerman SA (2002) Interactive web-based learning with Java. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 83(7):970–975CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Achilleas Mandrikas
    • 1
  • Dimitrios Stavrou
    • 2
  • Constantine Skordoulis
    • 3
  1. 1.Environmental Science EducationAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of Primary EducationUniversity of CreteRethymnonGreece
  3. 3.Department of Primary EducationNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations