Reflection: Discourse and Questioning Day Two of Plaid Pete Discovers What's Living - Section 5: Reflection & Closure


These important characteristics of what constitutes "living vs. non-living" seem rather simple at first.  One would think we should just be able to impart this information to our students, and they should, "get it."  However, these concepts are difficult ones for students to integrate into their schema.   The publication, Perspectives:  Research and tips to support science education K-6, by NSTA Press, states that (pg. 65), "From many years of research about student science ideas, we know that student science misconceptions are prevalent, strongly held, and highly resistant to change."

A strong body of research also supports the idea that if students' misconceptions or preconceptions about Science content are not addressed during instruction, and that if they are not provided opportunities to address them and examine the inconsistency of their ideas in light of new information; they will revert to their previous way of thinking.  Any new information or content introduced will be forgotten.  That is why it is so important for me to know what my students are thinking before I begin a lesson.  Their preconceptions guide me in the questions I need to ask during instruction.

We will need to come back to this idea of living vs. non-living again and again in this unit, and I will continue to ask my students, "Where is your evidence?  What have you learned that can help you with this?"  In this Video Clip, it is evident that language is also a barrier.  With second language students, additional practice with examples from their everyday lives are critically important.  The only way to overcome misconceptions - is repeated opportunities to engage and interact with demanding content.

  Discourse and Questioning: Student Misconceptions in Science
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Day Two of Plaid Pete Discovers What's Living

Unit 2: Plaid Pete Discovers What Matters in Ecosystems
Lesson 3 of 20

Objective: SWBAT classify items from a list as living, non-living, or dead.

Big Idea: How do scientists classify parts of living things, and things that were once living but have been changed? Students discover the living and non-living components of messy rooms, go to Science Court, and help Plaid Pete get it all sorted out.

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