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Misconceptions Powered By Docstoc

Exploring constructivist learning in
       the science context
• To understand what misconceptions in
  science are
• To understand where they come from
• To understand and value the process by
  which they are created
• To understand how to map pupils’
• To understand their stability
• To prepare the way for understanding how to
  change them.
           What are they?
• Current is used up in a bulb
• Pure substances are safe to eat/drink
• Plants get their food from the soil

Driver et al Making sense of secondary
Characteristics of misconceptions
 May be linked to specialist language
 Can be personal or shared with others
 Explain how the world works in simple terms
 Are often similar to earlier scientific models (eg earth
  is flat)
 May be inconsistent with science taught in schools
 Can be resistant to change
 May inhibit further conceptual development
Based on slide from KS3 strategy
     Where do they come from?
•   Constructed from everyday life
•   Limited experience
•   Mis-observation
•   Mis-remembering
•   Restricted teaching
    – Particles melt, boil, conduct electricity
    – Gaps in structure are filled with air/dust/germs
    – Particles die, want to get away from the cold
 We need to value the process

• Misconceptions arise as the pupil tries to
  make sense of their world

• We want to encourage this sense-making
  process, while refining the product
Children with very different experiences may
have very different misconceptions: eg

   – Special needs

   – Minority groups
    How can we tell what they are?
•   Read the books
•   Read their books & test answers
•   Interviews about instances
•   Brainstorm a topic with the group
•   Concept cartoons
•   Annotated diagrams
•   Concept maps
•   Class discussion of ideas/models/theories
          Concept cartoons
• Visual representation of scientific ideas
• Minimal text in dialogue form
• Familiar situations
• Give alternative viewpoints
• Use the misconceptions research to
  choose what to include
• Include the accepted answer
• Give all alternatives equal status
     Use concept cartoons to..
• Explore misconceptions
• Help pupils ask questions
• Relate science content to ‘real’ situations
• Promote engagement
• Individually or in group discussion
• In a plenary
• Outside lessons (corridor display, parents’
                      Annotated diagram

Based on KS3 strategy slide
          Concept map




         Why are they persistent?
•   They are usually simpler than the formal idea
•   We see what we want to see
•   We fail to consider alternative explanations
•   We can live in parallel universes – a veneer for
    the teacher and the ‘real one’
    – Veneer: we accept just enough of the new idea to
      keep the teacher happy without really changing
• Matches the process of scientific advance –
  we don’t make a paradigm shift on the basis of
  one experiment (Kuhn)
 An overview from a classroom
• Video
• Teacher reviewing a lesson which reveals
• Accepting ideas, extending ideas
• Discussing models
• What teachers do in a practical
• Next steps – moving to the formal ideas
               Discussion task
Pupils’ misconceptions
• Paper to read: Clerk D and Rutherford M (2000)
  Language as a confounding variable in the diagnosis of
  misconceptions Int. J. Sci. Educ., , Vol. 22, No. 7, pp703-
Discussion task
• Compare the paper with the information presented in the
  lecture on misconceptions. In view of what you have
  been learning, does the paper threaten the whole notion
  of misconceptions? Does it introduce any warnings in
  terms of how you will explore and work with pupil
  misconceptions in your own classrooms?

(We will pick this up again next week)

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