Teaching for Conceptual Understanding in Science
by Richard Konicek-Moran and Page Keeley

Price at time of review: $33.95
248 pp.
Arlington, VA
ISBN: 9781938946103

Grade Level: K-12

Reviewed by Thomas Brown
Retired Science Teacher

Teachers who are looking for strategies to deepen their students’ understanding of essential scientific principles should take the time to read Teaching for Conceptual Understanding in Science. This book combines an overview of the value of teaching concepts along with a variety of strategies to help teachers as they work with students to improve their scientific knowledge. The book is written in a manner that makes the topic approachable and useful for all educators.

The first chapters of this very helpful book discuss the meaning of conceptual understanding and why teachers should spend energy on insuring that their students master essential scientific ideas. The authors also review the research on children’s cognitive thinking in order to help teachers to implement appropriate strategies at each grade level or age. In the second part of the book, the authors explore how the Next Generation of Science Standards is designed to help teachers build the teaching of essential concepts into their courses. After the authors illustrate the various NGSS connections that exist in the standards, they share various instructional models that could be used to accomplish this task, drawing on their vast experience as well as current research. The closing chapters explore the ways that assessment and instruction can support efforts to teach core concepts as well as the role of informal education in this process.

One of the book’s strengths is the causal style in which it is written. Throughout the book there are numerous stories and anecdotes that the authors share from their combined experiences. Additionally, each chapter closes with a list of ideas for extending the reader’s learning using the extensive NSTA resource base. Teaching for Conceptual Understanding in Science is written for all educators. Individuals could read the book in its entirety or just focus on appropriate chapters. This terrific new NSTA book provides science educators with a valuable tool for connecting the research on insuring that students understand important scientific concepts for their own practice. The authors know their audience and have created a resource that will help teachers better implement the NGSS in their classes and thus prepare their students for the future.

Review posted on 5/20/2015

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