SCIENCE MIDDLE SCHOOL CIA
OCTOBER 16, 2006
0-3 min-Start: Announcements:
Research Opportunity for 2 8th grade teachers
(participate in physics/aqua
based research, have a class coach, get 3 graduate credits from WestConn).
3-6 min -Quarterly
copies available today. Teachers make class copies.
available today. By school/homeroom. Extra Blanks.
assessments Oct 28-Nov 9. One period. 10 mc, 4 essays.
available today. Keep secure.
school teachers score essays, mark on scantron. Return by Nov. 15.
questions/rubrics as part of break out group.
6-28 min Professional Topic
of the Day:
28- 75 min Break Out Tables:
the state standards/performances for your grade level:
a group, identify the key misconceptions that students would have about these
WHY they might have these misconceptions.
the experiences a teacher might provide to allow students to break these
notes for supervisor to assimilate and review.
gather master copy of assessment, scantrons, and scoring rubric for your
K-12 Science Supervisor
New Haven Schools
54 Meadow Street, 3rd Floor
New Haven, CT 06519
Group 1: 2:25 p.m.
Group 2: 3:15 p.m.
Group 3: 3:45 p.m.
Review video “A Private
misconceptions in science.
World Experiences (example: friction)
diagrams. (example: earth orbit)
(example: living things move, rocks are either metamorphic or igneous, a
substance is a solid or a liquid)
(electricity as water)
(electrons go in orbits)
without context, different scientific meaning
“energy makes it go” “glaciers retreat”
“lightning never strikes twice in the same place”
bad facts. (evolution is impossible, heavier things fall faster)
Links to research on
constructivism: how students learn science. They use their own experiences to
construct their meaning and model of explanation of the world. Despite our
“teaching”, students revert back to their models even if they have memorized
ours. To overcome their deep misconceptions
-They must become
dissatisfied with their existing conditions. (why is my explanation wrong?)
-The scientific conception
must be intelligible. (Oh, this makes sense)
-The scientific conception
must appear plausible. (This agrees with my experiences)
-The scientific conception
must be useful in a variety of new situations. (I can use this to predict
If teachers are to improve
students' science conceptions we must recognize that:
-students come to science
class with ideas,
-students' ideas are often
different from scientists,
-students' preconceptions are
(rote learning) will not lead to substantial conceptual change, and
strategies enable teachers to teach for conceptual change and understanding.
The key to altering the
ideas, explanations, and conceptions of science that students possess is to
find out and use what students already know. The challenge of teaching science
is to ensure that you do not leave intact students' alternative conceptions or
fill students with ideas and explanations which have little chance of being
“While growing up, children
are told by adults that the "sun is rising and setting," giving them
an image of a sun that moves about the earth. In school, students are told by
teachers (years after they have already formed their own mental model of how
things work) that the earth rotates. Students are then faced with the difficult
task of deleting a mental image that makes sense to them, based on their own
observations, and replacing it with a model that is not as intuitively acceptable.
This task is not trivial, for students must undo a whole mental framework of
knowledge that they have used to understand the world.”
- Children's Misconceptions about Science
- Coral reefs exist throughout the Gulf and North
- Objects are living if they move and/or grow. For
example, the sun, wind, and clouds are living because they move. Fires are
living because they consume wood, move, require air, reproduce (sparks
cause other fires), and give off waste (smoke).
- A plant is something growing in a garden. Carrots
and cabbage from the garden are not plants; they are vegetables. Trees are
not plants; they are plants when they are little, but when they grow up
they are not plants. Seeds are not plants. Dandelions are not plants; they
- Plants are only things that are cultivated; the
more food, water, and sunlight they get the better.
- Plants take their food from the environment. They
have multiple sources of food. Photosynthesis is not important to plants
- Dinosaurs and cavemen lived at the same time.
- Acquired characteristics can be inherited.
- Winter weather can be predicted by studying the
thickness of the fur of some animals.
- Humans are responsible for the extinction of the
- Some human races have not evolved as much as
- Evolution is goal-directed.
- Evolutionary changes are driven by need.
- Measurement is only linear.
- Any quantity can be measured as accurately as you
- Children who have used measuring devices at home
already know how to measure.
- The metric system is more accurate than the other
- The English system is easier to use than the
- You can only measure to the smallest unit shown
on the measuring device.
- You should start at the end of the measuring device
when measuring distance.
- Some objects cannot be measured because of their
size or inaccessibility.
- The five senses are infallible.
- An object must be "touched" to measure
- Mass and weight are the same and they are equal
at all times.
- Mass is a quantity that you get by weighing an
- Mass and volume are the same.
- The only way to measure time is with a clock or
- Time has an absolute beginning.
- Heat and temperature are the same.
- Heat is a substance.
- Cold is the opposite of heat and is a different
- There is only one way to measure perimeter.
- Only the area of rectangular shapes can be
measured in square units.
- Surface area can be found only for
- Surface area is a concept used only in
- You cannot measure the volume of some objects
because they do not have "regular" lengths, widths, or heights.
- An objects' volume is greater in water than in
- The density of an object depends only on its
- Density for a given volume is always the same.
- The density of two samples of the same substance
with different volumes or shapes cannot be the same.
- Rain comes from holes in clouds.
- Rain comes from clouds sweating.
- Rain occurs because we need it.
- Rain falls from funnels in the clouds.
- Rain occurs when clouds get scrambled and melt.
- Rain occurs when clouds are shaken.
- God and angels cause thunder and lightning.
- Clouds move because we move.
- Clouds come from somewhere above the sky.
- Empty clouds are filled by the sea.
- Clouds are formed by vapor from kettles.
- The sun boils the sea to create water vapor.
- Clouds are made of cotton, wool, or smoke.
- Frontal rain is caused by "cooling by
contact" between fronts.
- water flowing underground must flow in streams
because the water they see at the earth's surface flows in streams.
- the Gulf Stream is simply and entirely the
Mississippi River, floating across the surface of the salty Atlantic all
the way to Norway.
- The oxygen we breathe does not come from plants.
- Gas makes things lighter.
- One degree of temperature is smaller on the
Celsius scale than on the Fahrenheit scale.
- All rivers flow from North to South.
- Energy is a thing. This is a fuzzy notion,
probably because of the way that we talk about newton-meters or joules. It
is difficult to imagine an amount of an abstraction.
- The terms "energy" and
"force" are interchangeable.
- From the non-scientific point of view,
"work" is synonymous with "labor". It is hard to
convince someone that more work is probably being done playing football
for one hour than studying an hour for a quiz.
- An object at rest has no energy.
- The only type of potential energy is
- Gravitational potential energy depends only on
the height of an object.
- Doubling the speed of a moving object doubles the
- Energy can be changed completely from one form to
another (no energy losses).
- Things "use up" energy.
- Energy is confined to some particular origin,
such as what we get from food or what the electric company sells.
- Energy is truly lost in many energy transformations.
- There is no relationship between matter and
- If energy is conserved, why are we running out of
- Forces and Motion
- The only "natural" motion is for an
object to be at rest.
- If an object is at rest, no forces are acting on
- A rigid solid cannot be compressed or stretched.
- Only animate objects can exert a force. Thus, if
an object is at rest on a table, no forces are acting upon it.
- Force is a property of an object. An object has
force and when it runs out of force it stops moving.
- The motion of an object is always in the
direction of the net force applied to the object.
- Large objects exert a greater force than small
- A force is needed to keep an object moving
with a constant speed.
- Friction always hinders motion. Thus, you always
want to eliminate friction.
- Frictional forces are due to irregularities in
surfaces moving past each other.
- Rocket propulsion is due to exhaust gases pushing
on something behind the rocket.
- Gravity is something that holds us to the ground.
If there was no air there would be no gravity. For example, above the
earth's atmosphere there is no gravity, and you become
"weightless". Gravity increases with height above the earth's
surface. It is associated with downward falling objects.
- Time is defined in terms of its measurement.
- The location of an object can be described by
stating its distance from a given point (ignoring direction).
- The terms distance and displacement are
synonymous and may be used interchangeably. Thus the distance an object
travels and its displacement are always the same.
- Velocity is another word for speed. An object's
speed and velocity are always the same.
- Acceleration is confused with speed.
- Acceleration always means that an object is
- Acceleration is always in a straight line.
- Acceleration always occurs in the same direction
as an object is moving.
- If an object has a speed of zero (even
instantaneously), it has no acceleration.
- Forces and Fluids
- Objects float in water because they are lighter
- Objects sink in water because they are heavier
- Mass/volume/weight/heaviness/size/density may be
perceived as equivalent.
- Wood floats and metal sinks.
- All objects containing air float.
- Liquids of high viscosity are also liquids with
- Adhesion is the same as cohesion
- Heating air only makes it hotter.
- Pressure and force are synonymous.
- Pressure arises from moving fluids.
- Moving fluids contain higher pressure.
- Liquids rise in a straw because of
- Fluid pressure only acts downward.
- Heat and Temperature
- Heat is a substance.
- Heat is not energy.
- Temperature is a property of a particular
material or object. (Metal is naturally cooler than plastic).
- The temperature of an object depends on its size.
- Heat and cold are different, rather than being
opposite ends of a continuum.
- When temperature at boiling remains constant,
something is "wrong".
- Boiling is the maximum temperature a substance
- Ice cannot change temperature.
- Objects of different temperature that are in
contact with each other, or in contact with air at different temperature,
do not necessarily move toward the same temperature.
- Heat only travels upward.
- Heat rises.
- The kinetic theory does not really explain heat
transfer. (It is recited but not believed).
- Objects that readily become warm (conductors of
heat) do not readily become cold.
- The bubbles in boiling water contain
"air", "oxygen" or "nothing", rather than
- Properties of Matter
- Gases are not matter because most are invisible.
- Gases do not have mass.
- A "thick" liquid has a higher density
- Mass and volume, which both describe an
"amount of matter" are the same property.
- Air and oxygen are the same gas.
- Helium and hot air are the same gas.
- Expansion of matter is due to expansion of
particles rather than to increased particle spacing.
- Particles of solids have no motion.
- Relative particle spacing among solids, liquids
and gases (1:1:10) is incorrectly perceived and not generally related to
the density of the states.
- Materials can only exhibit properties of one state
- The sugar is melting when we stir a spoonful of
sugar into a cup of water.
- Physical change means you can get the substance
back, chemical change can’t (we can reverse color indicator reactions, but
can’t get back a broken light bulb)
- Particles possess the same properties as the
materials they compose. For example, atoms of copper are "orange and
shiny", gas molecules are transparent, and solid molecules are hard.
- Melting/freezing and boiling/condensation are
often understood only in terms of water.
- Particles are viewed as mini-versions of the
substances they comprise.
- Particles are often misrepresented in sketches.
No differentiation is made between atoms and molecules.
- Particles misrepresented and undifferentiated in
concepts involving elements, compounds, mixtures, solutions and
- Frequent disregard for particle conservation and
orderliness when describing changes.
- Absence of conservation of particles during a
- Chemical changes perceived as additive, rather
than interactive. After chemical change the original substances are
perceived as remaining, even though they are altered.
- Failure to perceive that individual substances
and properties correspond to certain types of particles (i.e. formation of
a new substance with new properties is seen as simple happening rather
than as the result of particle rearrangement).
- Positively charged objects have gained protons,
rather than being deficient in electrons.
- Electrons which are lost by an object are really
lost (no conservation of charge).
- All atoms are charged.
- A charged object can only attract other charged
- The electrostatic force between two charged
objects is independent of the distance between them.
- Gravitational forces are stronger than
- Batteries have electricity inside them.
- Three common misconceptions about electric
circuits are shown below.
- the source-consumer model in which electricity
travels along one wire from the cell to the lamp.
- a two wire modification of the source-consumer
- a model that is closer to the physicist's model.
However, in this model electricity is used by the lamp, causing less
current on one side of the lamp.
- Light is associated only with either a source or
its effects. Light is not considered to exist independently in space; and
hence, light is not conceived of as "travelling".
- An object is "seen" because light
shines o it. Light is a necessary condition for seeing an object and the
- Lines drawn outward from a light bulb represent
the "glow" surrounding the bulb.
- A shadow is something that exists on its own.
Light pushes the shadow away from the object to the wall or the ground and
is thought of as a "dark " reflection of the object.
- Light is not necessarily conserved. It may
disappear or be intensified.
- Light from a bulb only extends outward a certain
distance, and then stops. How far it extends depends on the brightness of
- The effects of light are instantaneous. Light
does not travel with a finite speed.
- A mirror reverses everything.
- For an observer to see the mirror image of an
object, either the object must be directly in front of the mirror, or if
not directly in front, then the object must be along the observer's line
of sight to the mirror. The position of the observer is no t important in
determining whether the mirror image can be seen.
- An observer can see more of his image by moving
further back from the mirror.
- The mirror image of an object is located on the
surface of the mirror. The image is often thought of as a picture on a
- The way a mirror works is as follows: The image
first goes from the object to the mirror surface. Then the observer either
sees the image on the mirror surface of the image reflects off the mirror
and goes into the observer's eye.
- Light reflects from a shiny surface in an
- Light is reflected from smooth mirror surfaces
but not from non-shiny surfaces.
- Curved mirrors make everything distorted.
- Light shines on a translucent material and
illuminates it so it can be seen. Light does not travel from the
translucent material to the eye.
- Light always passes straight through a
transparent material without changing direction.
- When an object is viewed through a transparent
solid or liquid material the object is seen exactly where it is located.
- Students will often think about how a lens forms
an image of a self-luminous object in the following way. They envision
that a "potential image" which carries information about the
object leaves the self-luminous object and travels through the space to
the lens. When passing through the lens, the "potential image"
is turned upside down and may be changed in size.
- When sketching a diagram to show how a lens forms
an image of an object, only those light rays are drawn which leave the
object in straight parallel lines.
- Blocking part of the lens surface would block the
corresponding part of the image.
- The purpose of the screen is to capture the image
so that it can be seen. The screen is necessary for the image to be
formed. Without a screen there is no image.
- An image can be seen on the screen regardless of
where the screen is placed relative to the lens. To see a larger image on
the screen, the screen should be moved further back.
- An image is always formed at the focal point of
- The size of the image depends on the size
(diameter) of the lens.
- When a wave moves through a medium, particles of
the medium move along with the wave.
- Gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible
light, infrared light, microwaves and radio waves are all very different
- When two pulses, travelling in opposite
directions along a spring or rope meet, they bounce off each other and go
back in the opposite direction.
- Colors appearing in soap films are the same
colors that appear in a rainbow.
- Polaroid sunglasses are just dark glass or dark
- Color and Vision
- The pupil of the eye is a black object or spot on
the surface of the eye.
- The eye receives upright images.
- The lens is the only part of the eye responsible
for focusing light.
- The lens forms and image (picture) on the retina.
The brain then "looks" at this image and that is how we see.
- The eye is the only organ for sight; the brain is
only for thinking.
- A white light source, such as an incandescent or
fluorescent bulb, produces light made up of only one color.
- Sunlight is different from other sources of light
because it contains no color.
- When white light passes through a prism, color is
added to the light.
- The rules for mixing color paints and crayons are
the same as the rules for mixing colored lights.
- The primary colors for mixing colored lights are
red, blue and yellow.
- A colored light striking an object produces a
shadow behind it that is the same color as the light. For example, when
red light strikes an object, a red shadow is formed.
- The shades of gray in a black and white newspaper
picture are produced by using inks with different shades of gray.
- When white light passes through a colored filter,
the filter adds color to the light.
- The different colors appearing in colored
pictures printed in magazines and newspapers are produced by using
different inks with all the corresponding colors.
- The mixing of colored paints and pigments follow
the same rules as the mixing of colored lights.
- The primary colors used by artists (red, yellow
and blue) are the same as the primary colors for all color mixing.
- Color is a property of an object, and is
independent of both the illuminating light and the receiver (eye).
- White light is colorless and clear, enabling you
to see the "true" color of an object.
- When a colored light illuminates a colored
object, the color of the light mixes with the color of the object.
- Naove explanations of visual phenomena involving
color perception usually involve only the properties of the object being
observed, and do not include the properties of the eye-brain system.
- Any crystal that scratches glass is a diamond.
- Rocks must be heavy.
- Soil must have always been in its present form.
- Mountains are created rapidly.
- Earth is molten, except for its crust.
- Earth's gravitational attraction is drastically
reduced on mountaintops.
- Continents do not move.
- Boiling or burning radioactive material can
- All radioactivity is man-made.
- Magnets and Magnetism
- All metals are attracted to a magnet.
- All silver colored items are attracted to a
- All magnets are made of iron.
- Larger magnets are stronger than smaller magnets.
- The magnetic and geographic poles of the earth
are located at the same place.
- The magnetic pole of the earth in the northern
hemisphere is a north pole, and the pole in the southern hemisphere is a
- Loudness and pitch of sounds are confused with
- You can see and hear a distant event at the same
- The more mass in a pendulum bob, the faster it
- Hitting an object harder changes its pitch.
- In a telephone, actual sounds are carried through
the wire rather than electrical pulses.
- Human voice sounds are produced by a large number
of vocal chords.
- Sound moves faster in air than in solids (air is
"thinner" and forms less of a barrier).
- Sound moves between particles of matter (in empty
space) rather than matter.
- In wind instruments, the instrument itself
vibrates not the internal air column.
- As waves move, matter moves along with them.
- The pitch of whistles or sirens on moving
vehicles is changed by the driver as the vehicle passes.
- The pitch of a tuning fork will change as it
"slows down", (i.e. "runs" out of energy)
- Stars and constellations appear in the same place
in the sky every night.
- The sun rises exactly in the east and sets
exactly in the west every day.
- The sun is always directly south at 12:00 noon.
- The tip of a shadow always moves along an
- We experience seasons because of the earth's
changing distance from the sun (closer in the summer, farther in the
- The earth is the center of the solar system. (The
planets, sun and moon revolve around the earth.)
- The moon can only be seen during the night.
- The moon does not rotate on its axis as it
revolves around the earth.
- The phases of the moon are caused by shadows cast
on its surface by other objects in the solar system.
- The phases of the moon are caused by the shadow
of the earth on the moon.
- The phases of the moon are caused by the moon
moving into the sun's shadow.
- The shape of the moon always appears the same.
- The earth is the largest object in the solar
- The solar system is very crowded.
- The solar system contains only the sun, planets
and the moon.
- Meteors are falling stars.
- Comets and meteors are out in space and do not
reach the ground.
- The surface of the sun is without visible
- All the stars in a constellation are near each
- All the stars are the same distance from the
- The galaxy is very crowded.
- Stars are evenly distributed throughout the
- All stars are the same size.
- The brightness of a star depends only on its
distance from the earth.
- Stars are evenly distributed throughout the
- The constellations form patterns clearly
resembling people, animals or objects.
- The earth is sitting on something.
- The earth is larger than the sun.
- The sun disappears at night.
- The earth is round like a pancake.
- We live on the flat middle of a sphere.
- There is a definite up and down in space.
- Seasons are caused by the earth's distance from
- Phases of the moon are caused by a shadow from
- Different countries see different phases of the
moon on the same day.
- The amount of daylight increases each day of
- Planets cannot be seen with the naked eye.
- Planets appear in the sky in the same place every
- Astrology is able to predict the future.
- Gravity is selective; it acts differently or not
at all on some matter.
- Gravity increases with height.
- Gravity requires a medium to act through.
- Rockets in space require a constant force.
- The sun will never burn out.
- The sun is not a star.
- Work and Power
- Failing to be able to identify the direction in
which a force is acting.
- Believing that any force times any distance is
- Believing that machines put out more work than we
- Not realizing that machines simply change the
form of the work we do (i.e. trade off force for distance or distance for
- SCIENTIFIC THEORY
- Hypotheses Become Theories Which Become Laws
- Hypothesis is an educated guess.
- A General and Universal Scientific Method Exists
- Evidence Accumulated Carefully Will Result in
- Science and its Methods Provide Absolute Proof
- Science is always objective.
- Science is independent of social meaning
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al. (2004). Inquiry in science education: International perspectives. Science
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(1997). Using interviews to assess children's understanding of science
concepts. School Science Review, 78(285), 79-84
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E. B. , Renner, J. W. , Marek, E. A. (1992). Understandings and
misunderstandings of eighth graders of five chemistry concepts found in
textbooks. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29(2), 105-120
-A Private Universe.
1989. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Trowbridge, J. E. and J. J. Mintzes. 1988.
-Dykstra, Jr., D. I., Boyle,
C. F., & Monarch, I. A. (1992). Studying conceptual change in learning
physics. Science Education 76 (6), 615 - 652.
-Proceedings of the Second
International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science
and Mathematics. Ithaca, N. Y.:Cornell University.
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A research-based teaching sequence for teaching the concept of modelling to
seventh-grade students. International Journal of Science Education, 25(11),
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J., Settlage, J., & Lanier, K. (2005). Individual and group meaning-making
in an urban third grade classroom: Red fog, cold cans, and seeping vapor.
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-Tobin, K. (1990).
Conceptualizing teaching roles in terms of metaphors and beliefs sets. Paper
presented at the annual meeting of the America Educational Research Association,
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Some Web Resources:
-Proceedings of the Fourth
International Seminar on Misconceptions: http://www2.ucsc.edu/mlrg/proc4abstracts.html
-Private Universe Project In
-Minds Of Our Own Series http://www.learner.org/resources/series26.html
-Science Misconceptions Page