What the kids think they know… unlearning in science #edsketch15

This article really resonated with me. At present my class is looking into how forces shape the planet. As I watched excepts from the film Private Universe, I found myself being overly optimistic about the effectiveness of my own teaching.

I immediately wondered if the misconceptions highlighted would be so widespread in the southern hemisphere where seasons are seen as being ‘back to front’ in comparison to the northern hemisphere where so much global popular culture is produced.

But then despite studying physics for many years, seeing the moon for the first time in the northern hemisphere still had me turning to Google.  I had to reconcile what I experienced with what I knew to be true.

, the author of the article, conceptualised this difference between knowing and understanding by this sketch.

I was confused by the idea if by the idea that superficial learning can lead to a higher level of understanding over time. Surely understanding would either stagnate or being to decline?

More importantly I was intrigued by what actually causes those shifts in understanding visualised by the curves on the graph. Is it just time and effort or is there something else at play?


How many scientific misconceptions I am inadvertently nurturing through my own misconceptions?

How many misconceptions I am continuing to nurture by not using summative assessment purposefully?

What do I need to do differently?

Listening a lot longer, taking way less.

Asking ‘what makes you think that?’ way more often. 

Helping the kids to really observe details before theorising about what they see.

I know I’m often in a hurry to get the kids to tell me what they think they see, that I don’t give time to the children to really observe and make sense of the world before jumping to conclusions.

Provoking misconceptions

I exclusively use provocation to elicit what kids already know. Maybe I need to use it differently.

What if I provoked and then planned for misconceptions as well as prior knowledge?

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