By: Page Keeley, Francis Eberle, and Joyce Tugel
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Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Volume 2: 25 More Formative Assessment Probes
2008 Winner of the AEP Distinguished Achievement Award
The Distinguished Achievement Award, from the Association of Educational Publishers, recognizes each year’s most outstanding materials in the field of teaching and learning.
|Type of Product:||NSTA Press Book (also see downloadable PDF version of this book)
based on 7 reviews
|Publication Title:||Uncovering Student Ideas in Science Series
|Grade Level:||Elementary School, Middle School, High School
|Read Inside:||Read a sample chapter: What’s in the Bubbles?
Our reviewers—top-flight teachers and other outstanding science educators—have determined that this resource is among the best available supplements for science teaching.
[Read the full review]
If Hollywood filmed this sequel, the studio would call it “Probes II: More Battles Against Misunderstandings.” Like the blockbuster before it, Volume 2 will reveal the surprising misconceptions students bring to the classroom—so you can adjust your teaching to foster a sound understanding of science.
The popular features from Volume 1 are all here. The field-tested probes are short, easy to administer, and ready to reproduce. Teacher materials explain science content and suggest grade-appropriate ways to present information. But Volume 2 covers more life science and Earth and space science probes. New topics include forms of matter, changes in matter, living things and life processes, rocks and landforms, the day/night cycle, and objects in the night sky. Volume 2 also suggests ways to embed the probes throughout your instruction, not just when starting a unit or topic.
This new classroom tool will help you not only uncover students’ existing ideas, but also use that knowledge to improve your teaching and advance student understanding of science concepts.
Ideas For Use
Suggestions are provided for administering the probe to students, including a variety of modifications that may make the probe more useful at certain grade spans. For example, the notes might recommend eliminating certain examples from a list for younger students who may not be familiar with particular words or examples. This section may also include suggestions for demonstrating the probe context with props or ways to elicit the probe responses while students interact within a group.
(mouse over for full classification)
Scientific habits of mind
Earth in the solar system
|Intended User Role:||Curriculum Supervisor, Elementary-Level Educator, High-School Educator, New Teacher, Teacher
|Educational Issues:||Achievement, Assessment of students, Classroom management, Curriculum, Educational research, Inquiry learning, Instructional materials, Learning theory, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge, Teacher preparation, Teaching strategies
• Next Steps
• About the Authors
• Probes as Assessment for Learning
• Linking Probes, Teaching, and Learning
• Research Supporting the Use of Probes
• Taking Into Account Students’ Ideas
• Suggestions for Embedding Probes in Instruction
• Using Teacher Notes That Accompany the Probes
• Vignette on Teaching Density
• Concept Matrices and Probe Set
Physical Science Assessment Probes
• Concept Matrix
• 1 Comparing Cubes
• 2 Floating Logs
• 3 Floating High and Low
• 4 Solids and Holes
• 5 Turning the Dial
• 6 Boiling Time and Temperature
• 7 Freezing Ice
• 8 What’s in the Bubbles?
• 9 Chemical Bonds
• 10 Ice-Cold Lemonade
• 11 Mixing Water
Life Science Assessment Probes
• Concept Matrix
• 12 Is It a Plant?
• 13 Needs of Seeds
• 14 Plants in the Dark and Light
• 15 Is It Food for Plants?
• 16 Giant Sequoia Tree
• 17 Baby Mice
• 18 Whale and Shrew
• 19 Habitat Change
Earth and Space Science Assessment Probes
• Concept Matrix
• 20 Is It a Rock? (Version 1)
• 21 Is It a Rock? (Version 2)
• 22 Mountaintop Fossil
• 23 Darkness at Night
• 24 Emmy’s Moon and Stars
• 25 Objects in the Sky
This Title Also Available as Part of a Set:
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National Standards Correlation
This resource has 93 correlations with the National Standards.
- Physical Science
- Properties of objects and materials
- Objects have many observable properties, including the ability to react with other substances. (K-4)
- Objects have many observable properties, including size, weight, shape, color, and temperature. (K-4)
- The observable properties of objects can be measured using tools, such as rulers, balances, and thermometers. (K-4)
- Some common materials, such as water, can be changed from one state to another by heating or cooling. (K-4)
- Properties and changes of properties in matter
- A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility. (5-8)
- The characteristic properties of a substance are independent of the amount of the sample. (5-8)
- A mixture of substances often can be separated into the original substances using one or more of the characteristic properties. (5-8)
- Structure and properties of matter
- Atoms interact with one another by transferring or sharing electrons that are furthest from the nucleus. (9-12)
- Outer shell electrons govern the chemical properties of the element. (9-12)
- An element is composed of a single type of atom. (9-12)
- Bonds between atoms are created when electrons are paired up by being transferred or shared. (9-12)
- Atoms may be bonded together into molecules or crystalline solids. (9-12)
- A compound is formed when two or more kinds of atoms bind together chemically. (9-12)
- Solids, liquids, and gases differ in the distances and angles between molecules or atoms and therefore the energy that binds them together. (9-12)
- In solids the structure is nearly rigid; in liquids molecules or atoms move around each other but do not move apart; and in gases molecules or atoms move almost independently of each other and are mostly far apart. (9-12)
- Structure of atoms
- The components of atoms have measurable properties, such as mass and electrical charge. (9-12)
- Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism
- Heat can move from one object to another by conduction. (K-4)
- Heat can be produced in many ways, such as burning, rubbing, or mixing one substance with another. (K-4)
- Transfer of Energy
- Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. (5-8)
- Energy is transferred in many ways. (5-8)
- Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing from warmer objects to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature. (5-8)
- Heat, light, mechanical motion, or electricity might all be involved in energy transfers. (5-8)
- Conservation of energy and increase in disorder
- Heat consists of random motion and the vibrations of atoms, molecules, and ions. (9-12)
- The higher the temperature, the greater the atomic or molecular motion. (9-12)
- Everything tends to become less organized and less orderly over time. (9-12)
- In all energy transfers, the overall effect is that the energy is spread out uniformly. Examples are the transfer of energy from hotter to cooler objects by conduction, radiation, or convection and the warming of our surroundings when we burn fuels. (9-12)
- Life Science
- The characteristics of organisms
- Organisms have basic needs. For example, animals need air, water, and food; plants require air, water, nutrients, and light. (K-4)
- The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (such as hunger) and by external cues (such as a change in the environment). (K-4)
- Life cycles of organisms
- Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. The details of this life cycle are different for different organisms. (K-4)
- Plants and animals closely resemble their parents. (K-4)
- Many characteristics of an organism are inherited from the parents of the organism, but other characteristics result from an individual's interactions with the environment. Inherited characteristics include the color of flowers and the number of limbs of an animal. (K-4)
- Organisms and environments
- An organism's patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism's environment, including the kinds and numbers of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the physical characteristics of the environment.
- When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations.
- Structure and function in living systems
- All organisms are composed of cells--the fundamental unit of life (5-8)
- Cells carry on the many functions needed to sustain life. They grow and divide, thereby producing more cells. (5-8)
- Reproduction and heredity
- In many species, including humans, females produce eggs and males produce sperm. (5-8)
- Plants also reproduce sexually--the egg and sperm are produced in the flowers of flowering plants. (5-8)
- An egg and sperm unite to begin development of a new individual. That new individual receives genetic information from its mother (via the egg) and its father (via the sperm). (5-8)
- Sexually produced offspring never are identical to either of their parents. (5-8)
- Every organism requires a set of instructions for specifying its traits (5-8)
- Heredity is the passage of these instructions from one generation to another. (5-8)
- Each gene carries a single unit of information. (5-8)
- Hereditary information is contained in genes, located in the chromosomes of each cell. (5-8)
- Regulation and behavior
- All organisms must be able to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain stable internal conditions while living in a constantly changing external environment. (5-8)
- Behavior is one kind of response an organism can make to an internal or environmental stimulus. (5-8)
- A behavioral response requires coordination and communication at many levels, including cells, organ systems, and whole organisms.
- Behavioral response is a set of actions determined in part by heredity and in part from experience. (5-8)
- Populations and ecosystems
- Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. (5-8)
- Plants and some micro-organisms are producers--they make their own food. (5-8)
- All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. (5-8)
- For ecosystems, the major source of energy is sunlight. (5-8)
- Energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis. (5-8)
- Diversity and adaptations of organisms
- Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. (5-8)
- Although different species might look dissimilar, the unity among organisms becomes apparent from an analysis of internal structures, the similarity of their chemical processes, and the evidence of common ancestry. (5-8)
- Species acquire many of their unique characteristics through biological adaptation, which involves the selection of naturally occurring variations in populations. (5-8)
- Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment (5-8)
- Extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient to allow its survival. (5-8)
- The cell
- Cells can differentiate, and complex multicellular organisms are formed as a highly organized arrangement of differentiated cells. (9-12)
- In the development of multicellular organisms, the progeny from a single cell form an embryo in which the cells multiply and differentiate to form the many specialized cells, tissues and organs that comprise the final organism. (9-12)
- Plant cells contain chloroplasts, the site of photosynthesis. (9-12)
- Plants and many microorganisms use solar energy to combine molecules of carbon dioxide and water into complex, energy rich organic compounds and release oxygen to the environment. (9-12)
- Molecular basis of heredity
- In all organisms, the instructions for specifying the characteristics of the organism are carried in DNA, a large polymer formed from subunits of four kinds (A, G, C, and T). (9-12)
- Transmission of genetic information to offspring occurs through egg and sperm cells that contain only one representative from each chromosome pair. An egg and a sperm unite to form a new individual. (9-12)
- Biological evolution
- Biological classifications are based on how organisms are related. (9-12)
- Organisms are classified into a hierarchy of groups and subgroups based on similarities which reflect their evolutionary relationships. (9-12)
- Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
- The energy for life primarily derives from the sun. (9-12)
- Plants capture energy by absorbing light and using it to form strong (covalent) chemical bonds between the atoms of carbon-containing (organic) molecules. These molecules can be used to assemble larger molecules with biological activity (including proteins, DNA, sugars, and fats). (9-12)
- Energy stored in bonds between the atoms (chemical energy) can be used as sources of energy for life processes. (9-12)
- Behavior of organisms
- Organisms have behavioral responses to internal changes and to external stimuli. (9-12)
- Responses to external stimuli can result from interactions with the organism's own species and others, as well as environmental changes; these responses either can be innate or learned. (9-12)
- The broad patterns of behavior exhibited by animals have evolved to ensure reproductive success. (9-12)
- Animals often live in unpredictable environments, and so their behavior must be flexible enough to deal with uncertainty and change. Plants also respond to stimuli. (9-12)
- Earth Science
- Properties of earth materials
- Earth materials are solid rocks and soils, water, and the gases of the atmosphere.
- The varied Earth materials have different physical and chemical properties, which make them useful in different ways, for example, as building materials, as sources of fuel, or for growing the plants we use as food.
- Fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and the nature of the environment at that time.
- Objects in the sky
- The sun, moon, stars, clouds, birds, and airplanes all have properties, locations, and movements that can be observed and described.
- Changes in earth and sky
- Some changes to the surface of the Earth are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering
- Objects in the sky have patterns of movement.
- The sun appears to move across the sky in the same way every day, but its path changes slowly over the seasons.
- Structure of the earth system
- Land forms are the result of a combination of constructive and destructive forces. (5-8)
- Some changes in the solid earth can be described as the "rock cycle." (5-8)
- Old rocks at the earth's surface weather, forming sediments that are buried, then compacted, heated, and often recrystallized into new rock. Eventually, those new rocks may be brought to the surface by the forces that drive plate motions, and the rock cycle continues. (5-8)
- Earth's history
- The earth processes we see today, including erosion, movement of lithospheric plates, and changes in atmospheric composition, are similar to those that occurred in the past. (5-8)
- Earth in the solar system
- The earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets. (5-8)
- Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion. (5-8)
- The motions of most objects in the solar system explain such phenomena as the day, the year, phases of the moon, and eclipses.
- Origin and evolution of the earth system
- Geologic time can be estimated by observing rock sequences and using fossils to correlate the sequences at various locations. (9-12)
- Current methods of measuring geologic time include using the known decay rates of radioactive isotopes present in rocks to measure the time since the rock was formed. (9-12)
- Interactions among the solid earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and organisms have resulted in the ongoing evolution of the earth system. (9-12)
- Science as Inquiry
- Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
- Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
- Process Standards for Professional Development
- Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. (NSES)
- Content Standards
- Quality Teaching
- Deepens educators’ content knowledge, provides them with research-based instructional strategies to assist students in meeting rigorous academic standards, and prepares them to use various types of classroom assessments appropriately. (NSDC)
- Teaching Standards
- Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students.
- Select teaching and assessment strategies that support the development of student understanding and nurture a community of science learners.
“A parent could easily use the formative probe assessments within the homeschool setting.”
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2009
||Formative Assessment at its best
||Reviewed by: Nora McDevitt (Youngstown, OH) on September 1, 2008
||I like how these books are tutorials with different "teacher talk" for the audience, elementary, middle, and high school. I like this so much I had every teacher in my PD class buy them. I will be buying the third one.
||Use in a hands-on workshop
||Reviewed by: Bonnie Wood (Presque Isle, ME) on July 24, 2008
||I used the series Uncovering Student Ideas in Science in two of my workshops on lecture-free teaching. These sessions were for high school and middle school science teachers. In one instance, the teachers (with whom I had worked previously) picked one of the formative assessments, tried it in their classrooms before the scheduled workshop date, and reported to the rest of the group about how it worked. In the second instance, I brought the books to the workshop and gave the teachers about 30 minutes to find an assessment appropriate for one of their classes, make copies for the other participants, and try the assessment on the workshop participants. In both cases each presentation was followed by critique and suggestions from other workshop participants.
||Reviewed by: Jody (Camden, SC) on July 16, 2008
||The assessments in this book are great to assess students misconceptions as well as their knowledge. I found many of them to be helpful when assessing prior knowledge and determining the structure for my lessons.
||Volume 2 - A sequel that works!
||Reviewed by: Robert Gilmore (Milford, MA) on July 15, 2008
||I was very happy to see that Volume 2 in the Uncovering Student Ideas in Science series stuck with the format and ideas of the first volume. Keep'em coming!
||Reviewed by: Amy (Newark, DE) on July 14, 2008
||The probes have given my teachers some real insight into their students thinking. It is a great way to spur discussions about instruction and learning.
||Classroom ready resource
||Reviewed by: Peter A'Hearn (Palm Springs, CA) on November 7, 2007
||Both volumes of the Probes are a great resource for the classroom teacher or for professional development. Before working with a group of teachers have them select and give a probe to their classes. The student responses are truly eye opening and begin to foster real discussions about real student learning and how to structure lessons and units. Teacher often assume the concepts in the probes are "easy" and spend little time on them. Using multiple choice assessments as the only form of assessment leads teachers to assume language difficulties and lazyness are the reason for low acheivement. The probes often reveal that the problem is deep misunderstandings about scientific concepts.
||Uncovering Student Ideas
||Reviewed by: Christine G (Wilbraham, MA) on November 4, 2007
||I bought the first book and loved it. I have used vol 1 and vol 2 as both pre and post assessment. The pre-assessment for differiated instruction which is a district goal. Writing is also a district goal the probes help with that as well. Each probe has implications for each grade level whihc I found helpful.
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