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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds how they might learn it. We talked about concept cartoons, sometimes we use them with questions and then get the children to discuss whether or not they agree with the concept cartoons. And we use so it’s a good interactive way of checking children’s knowledge and then tracking the development so you can keep asking them the same questions and see whether their knowledge changes at all. And it’s a nice quick way and interactive fun. We have also said that we started to use online questionnaires.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds So if it’s something you’ need quite far in advance, you can put something in there and use Letter R, and get them to, with a QR code, go on the questionnaire, and find out what they know about it before you start. You can mind-map as well and then at the end of the unit, add to it in a different color to show how they’ve moved on as a class. We have a little discussion, we sit in a group, and we’ll ask what do we already know about the topic? What would we like to know, and by the end of it, what do we want to find out? So we do all of our discussion post-it notes, or the other.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds Really similar, we discuss it and then sometimes we arrange an experience in the class and they’ll have a little go, and then you can judge, and observe them, and see if they have some prior knowledge already. And if they don’t, then obviously we go forward and we teach them that. We use some KWL grids and then we found a really useful tool is to use the concept cartoons. So it really works well in terms of highlighting misconceptions that the teachers can then address and adapt to their planning there.

New knowledge builds on prior knowledge

To have meaningful thought processes about new ideas, students must build upon whatever prior knowledge they already possess. Effective teachers gain an awareness of their students’ prior knowledge through a variety of means. In this video teachers talk about how they find out what prior knowledge students have before they teach a new topic. They frequently use class discussion, concept cartoons, KWL grids, surveys, Plickers and many other types of formative assessment.

However, your role here goes beyond just ensuring the student has the required prior knowledge before progressing to the next stage. Students need to be supported in connecting new knowledge to what they have learned before.

In the next step we’ll look at some examples of this.

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The Science of Learning

National STEM Learning Centre