Eliciting misconceptions: annotating diagrams
A drawing is a good way to enable children to express their ideas. If these are annotated it allows them to expand on their ideas and further explain what they understand. They are useful at the beginning of an activity to allow children to explain what they think will happen or after an activity to describe what they think happened. The children can either draw their own complete drawing or complete an incomplete or incorrect drawing.
Here we provide an example of using annotated diagrams to elicit the misconception: “When a puddle dries up the water has disappeared”.
This activity is best completed after a rainy day but if there has been no rain pouring water onto the playground works just as well.
First the children take a picture of the formed puddle and then draw a chalk line around the edge of the puddle. This marks the puddle size. Over time the children take more photos of the puddle, hopefully the puddle size will reduce.
They should draw new lines each time the puddle recedes and take photos at each stage. This can also be completed by drawing if they do not have access to a camera.
After completing the observation activity the children should then be asked to annotate their pictures to explain what they think is happening.
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