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What Are Very Young Students' Ideas About Science? Page Keeley Can Help You Find Out

By Carole Hayward

Posted on 2013-08-19

Uncovering Student Ideas in Primary ScienceWhen I wrote about Uncovering Student Ideas recently, I didn’t know that a new volume was in the works specifically designed for K-2 students. What a marvelous idea! The eighth book in the series, Uncovering Student Ideas in Primary Science: 25 New Formative Assessment Probes for Grades K-2 is the first one that exclusively targets young children’s ideas.

The formative assessment probes are designed to uncover the ideas students bring to their science learning. The idea behind each probe is to elicit commonly held ideas young children have about scientific concepts. In the book, the best answer is provided along with distractors designed to reveal research-identified misconceptions held by young children.

If you are familiar with the format of the Uncovering Student Ideas books, you’ll find this one slightly different. Conveyed through the extensive use of engaging illustrations, the probes use minimal text so that they can be used by children who are just learning to read and write.

The 25 probes in this book are organized into three sections: Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth and Space Science. Each probe presents a purpose, related concepts, an explanation, curricular and instructional considerations for grades K-2, how to administer the probe, related ideas in the national standards, related research, suggestions for instruction and assessment, related NSTA resources, and references.

The topics are wide ranging and are designed to encourage “science talk” while letting you identify students’ preconceptions before beginning a lesson or monitor their progress as they develop new scientific explanations.

Section 1: Life Science

  • Is It Living?
  • Is It an Animal?
  • Is It a Plant?
  • Is It Made of Parts? (Read a sample chapter.)
  • Seeds in a Bag
  • Do They Need Air?
  • Senses
  • Big and Small Seeds

Section 2: Physical Science

  • Sink or Float?
  • Watermelon and Grape
  • Is It Matter?
  • Snap Blocks
  • Back and Forth
  • When Is There Friction?
  • Marble Roll
  • Do the Waves Move the Boat?
  • Shadow Size
  • Rubber Band Box
  • Big and Small Magnets

Section 3: Earth and Space Science

  • What Makes Up a Mountain?
  • Describing Soil
  • Is a Brick a Rock?
  • When is My Shadow the Longest?
  • What Lights Up the Moon?
  • When Is the Next Full Moon?

If you find yourself wondering or needing to understand how your young students’ view important scientific concepts, let Page Keeley guide you with new ways to uncover their ideas. This book is also available as an ebook (downloadable pdf). Learn more about the other books in this series.

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