Secondary school students’ understanding of circular economy and recycling at a small rural school
Anne Laius 1 * , Rolf Saarna 1 , Merike Kont 1
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1 Center of Scientific Education, University of Tartu, Tartu, ESTONIA* Corresponding Author


Biology education plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between science and society. This is of high interest and relevance for several reasons helping students to become biologically literate and understanding basic biological concepts and principles as healthcare, environmental issues, and sustainability. The aim of this study was to investigate the understanding of the 9th grade and the 12th grade students regarding circular economy and recycling. To achieve the objectives, a study was conducted with the convenience sample, involving students from a rural school. The sample was made up of 27 students, including 17 students from the 9th grade and 10 students from the 12th grade. The prior knowledge of students was assessed by the tool of drawing on the topic of the circular economy and recycling. A two-hour training module was created and carried out, including several practical tasks followed by fulfilling the compliant worksheets. The effectiveness of the module was assessed by the questionnaire focused on the new information received during the module and the general feedback of the module was gathered from the students. The results were analyzed using qualitative content analysis and descriptive quantitative research methods. The findings revealed that the understanding of circular economy and recycling among the 9th grade and the 12th grade students was different, expressed in the categories of pre-knowledge and the secondary school students are aware of the importance and purpose of circular economy and recycling. The differences appaired in the students’ obtained knowledge and changed attitudes of the 9th grade and the 12th grade students and the improvement of attitudes and willingness to behave in a sustainable way surpassed the increase of understanding of term “circular economy”.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

INTERDISCIP J ENV SCI ED, 2024, Volume 20, Issue 3, Article No: e2409

Publication date: 01 Jul 2024

Online publication date: 14 May 2024

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Article Downloads: 178

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