What We Call Misconceptions May Be Necessary Stepping Stones Toward Making Sense of the World
What are three things you learned from reading this article? The first thing I learned from this article was that it is helpful for teachers to focus less on correcting misconceptions immediately and more on helping students engage in reasoning, evaluating and explaining phenomena. The second thing I learned was that productive classroom discussions do not happen spontaneously. Teachers must model and ask for the use of evidence and create safe spaces for students to work together on ideas. The third thing I learned from this article is how lost students become when teachers just give out the correct answer. In this case only the teacher is working through the ideas, and active reasoning by students gets shut down. Students then just memorize concepts but don't really understand what they mean.
Why is it important to pre-assessing students’ knowledge prior to teaching a lesson or unit? Teachers need to pre-assess students’ knowledge prior to teaching a lesson or unit to see how much a student knows about a topic and what their preconceptions of the topic are.
What “wacky” ideas (if any) have you heard your students come up with? A very common misconception was that the seasons were caused by the earth’s distance from the sun and not the tilt of the earth. Another is that objects float in water because they are lighter than water. A final misconception was that all air is oxygen.
Where do you think those ideas originated? From personal experiences that the closer you are to a warm object the warmer you will be. Lighter objects are easier to hold up. We breathe oxygen so all air must be made from it.
What will you do differently in your classroom based on these findings? Based on these findings I want to work towards more classroom discussions based on evidence and reasoning from students. I also will refer heavily to the questions referenced in figure 3 to help build strong discussions.