عنوان مقاله [English]
Children, from their very early ages, through their everyday experience in both natural and designed conditions, learn about scientific concepts. The primary school is the first environment in which science concepts and principles are dealt with in a systematic way through planned experiences, and science textbooks play a vital role in this regard. Since scientific concepts, and particularly physics concepts, are abstract, young children need to form mental images about them. To satisfy this need, science textbooks should contain ample visual elements to make matters clear for the children. In recent years considerable innovations seem to have been introduced in the Iranian primary school science texts. These developments have taken place partly on account of internal and external research, and partly through following the examples of advanced foreign countries. Apparently, one of conspicuous changes in the textbooks involves the use of graphic elements. Research findings indicate that graphical components play a vital role in grasping student attention. The main purpose of this research was to study and compare the extent to which graphic elements are used in the primary textbooks of the three countries of Iran, USA, and England. To achieve this goal, physics concepts were selected as domain of the study and the section on sound was randomly selected in that domain. To collect and analyze the data, graphic elements were divided into active and inactive items based on their contribution to the children's understanding and learning tasks. Textbooks' content were analyzed and compared according to these criteria. Findings of the research indicate that Iranian primary textbooks tend to use related pictures and drawings with a variety of colors. But, because of the poor quality of paper, these textbooks are less effective compared to English and American textbooks. Iranian textbooks present a lot of images in an inactive way. American textbooks present more extensive images to provide students with ample information and stimulate their curiosity compared to other two countries. English books use graphics for organizing information and doing experiments more than those of the other two countries. As a result English textbooks use more active pictures and are more useful in promoting a discovery frame of mind.