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Ten percent of schoolchildren think the sun rises in the North

DDP/The Local · 10 Jun 2010, 13:55

Published: 10 Jun 2010 13:55 GMT+02:00

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Just 59 percent of sixth and ninth-grade adolescents knew that the sun rises in the East, while 11 percent thought the day began in the North, the Jugendreport Natur 2010 found.

Though about one-third said they lived in the countryside, 10 percent of the pupils said they thought cows produced pasteurised UHT milk and that hens laid more than six eggs per day – though they actually lay only one.

“Children and adolescents can hardly gather certain experiences any longer,” said Gerd Sonnenleitner, head of the IMA agriculture advocacy association, one of the study supporters, in a statement. “What was was normal to my generation, such as spending the summer helping on the farm or working in the garden now falls under the heading ‘exotic.’”

The study, conducted under the auspices of German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, also uncovered grave misunderstandings among young people about environmental protection. For 49 percent of the 11 to 15-year-olds the term “sustainability” was unfamiliar.

A further indication of students’ alienation from nature was indicated in their answer to what portion of a mobile phone is made from natural substances – just four percent had the correct answer of 100 percent.

Nature sociologist and study leader Rainer Brämer attributed the “alarming natural oblivion” on a lack of engagement by parents and dry teaching materials in schools. When students were asked about their favourite subject in school, six percent chose either biology, physics or chemistry. Sports class was the most popular at 35 percent, the study found.

Despite their ignorance, many students said they feel attracted to nature. Some 47 percent of the 3,032 polled between February and May said they preferred to spend their free time outside.

Story continues below…

Students in the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Thuringia, and Berlin took part in the 150-question poll, which was also supported by the German Hunter’s Association (DJV), the SDW association for the protection of German forests, and the IMA.

The 2010 study was the sixth since 1997.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:23 June 10, 2010 by LancashireLad
Ok. My first thought:

10% of schoolchildren think the sun rises in the north .... and 50% think it shines out their a**e.

My second thought:

What on earth has knowing where the sun rises got to do with not being able to get into nature enough? Don't compasses work in cities? Don't city trees have moss?
17:22 June 10, 2010 by LancashireLad

That's actually got more to do with religion in its most extreme, but I agree there is a healthy(?) dose of stupidity in there too.


Thanks for the suppling the "Manfred". I think it was Manfred von Richthofen.


Winnetou has nothing whatsoever to do with America apart from it being set there. It was written by Carl May (german) and filmed in what is now Croatia. And Bully did a superb spoof film called "Der Schuh Des Manitus"
17:50 June 10, 2010 by Prufrock2010
From October to May it appeared to me that the sun didn't rise at all -- let alone from the east.
04:40 June 11, 2010 by Talonx
@ Zefix

They aren't taught to be creative instead of maths. Believing that is like believing the sun rises in the North,
11:02 June 11, 2010 by vjtheking
They ought to introduce Galileo & Einstein into the curriculum in Grade 1 instead of meaningless things like counting numbers!!

I guess, as a corollary, the kids wudn't know where the sun set either. Unless they grew up with a Colonial hangover and were taught that the Sun never set on the British Empire.. Ho Hum!!!
17:14 June 11, 2010 by Internuncio
Maybe those schoolchildren have been lucky enough to have spent some of their summers here in Sweden where, if the sun ever sets at all, it does appear to rise in the north.
22:18 June 11, 2010 by Cincinnatus
Now I understand the story, on the same page, about German Jews aiding Hamas, by sending aid to Gaza., which "aid" will just be used as packaging and camoflauge around arms shipments.
01:07 June 12, 2010 by Talonx
@ Cincinnatus

That's just plain conspiracy theory.
01:12 June 12, 2010 by Gretl
My girls know where the sun sets, after we took a wrong turn in Prague, and decided to follow the sun home to Bayern.
00:42 June 13, 2010 by ajs42548

"So what?

Apparently 45% of adult Americans believe that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.

There are a lot of stupid people in the world "

Yes and I am totally embarrassed by this.
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