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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsSPEAKER 1: Eliciting misconceptions-- changing materials. Example 1-- Sentence making activity. A sentence making activity can be used to assess children's understanding at the start of a lesson or to see how their understanding is developing as a lesson goes on. So it could be used at the end as well. It's a little bit like a concept cartoon, but it involves lots of different words linked to the topic. Or it could also involve pictures as well. It starts by posing a sentence that a child says. So you could say Sarah thinks that when she adds sugar to the teacher's tea, it melts quickly. And then children try and use some of the other words to come up with their own understanding.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 secondsSo in a group, they might think, oh, is it quickly? Or they might then change it to slowly. Some children hopefully after a period of teaching, will then think, well actually, is the sugar melting, or is it dissolving? So they might come up with sentences at the end that say when I add sugar to my teacher's tea and stir it, it dissolves very quickly. Example 2-- Odd one out.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsSPEAKER 2: There is not necessarily right or wrong answers, but what I'm going to ask you to do as a group is to agree which one of the words is the odd one out, and why. And the why is the really important part. So even if you-- it doesn't really matter why you've chosen it, as long as you can explain. So we've got three words. We've got "stretching," "bending," and "rusting." So have a little chat amongst yourselves. The main thing is to talk to each other, and first of all, to know what they all mean, and which one do you think is different to do it, too.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 secondsSPEAKER 3: I think rusting's different--

Skip to 1 minute and 48 secondsSPEAKER 4: Yeah, me too.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 secondsSPEAKER 3: Because--

Skip to 1 minute and 49 secondsSPEAKER 5: Stretching-- you can stretch it, you can bend it, but you can't resting it.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 secondsSPEAKER 4: Yeah, you can't-- yeah.

Skip to 1 minute and 54 secondsSPEAKER 2: OK, so what's the-- what word are you saying? What's your reason then?

Skip to 1 minute and 58 secondsSPEAKER 5: Because you can stretch something, you can bend it, but you can't rust it.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 secondsSPEAKER 2: OK. So because you can't do that yourself.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 secondsSPEAKER 5: Yeah.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 secondsSPEAKER 2: So these are things you can physically do.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 secondsSPEAKER 1: Example 3-- 3, 2, 1 lift off.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 secondsSPEAKER 6: Well, that's [INAUDIBLE]..

Skip to 2 minutes and 14 secondsSPEAKER 7: Fizzy-- maybe fizz and water explodes.

Skip to 2 minutes and 17 secondsSPEAKER 8: Oh, I know. You know, how you get bottles, and if you shake them, and they explode, it could be that. I could [INAUDIBLE].

Skip to 2 minutes and 24 secondsSPEAKER 7: Coca-cola.

Skip to 2 minutes and 25 secondsSPEAKER 6: Mentos.

Skip to 2 minutes and 25 secondsSPEAKER 8: Coca-cola, yeah.

Skip to 2 minutes and 26 secondsSPEAKER 7: Yeah. Yeah, but if you just shake Coca-Cola, it still explodes.

Skip to 2 minutes and 30 secondsSPEAKER 8: [INAUDIBLE]

Skip to 2 minutes and 31 secondsSPEAKER 9: Don't start yet. I should see your film canister on the floor with the lid next to it and the tablet in it.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 secondsSPEAKER 6: Oh, in it.

Skip to 2 minutes and 39 secondsSPEAKER 9: OK. When I count down from three, you can put it in. Make sure you hear the click, and then turn it over so the lid is on the underneath. Then take a step back. [INTERPOSING VOICES] OK, 1, 2, 3. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Hear the click. Well done. [INTERPOSING VOICES]

Skip to 3 minutes and 3 secondsSPEAKER 6: Upside down.

Skip to 3 minutes and 5 secondsSPEAKER 8: Imagine if it didn't explode.

Skip to 3 minutes and 7 secondsSPEAKER 9: Don't panic. It might take a while.

Skip to 3 minutes and 8 secondsSPEAKER 7: Oh.

Skip to 3 minutes and 9 secondsSPEAKER 6: After all that work..

Skip to 3 minutes and 12 secondsSPEAKER 10: Yes.

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 secondsSPEAKER 11: After all that time Oscar..

Skip to 3 minutes and 16 secondsSPEAKER 8: It's fizzing. You know when like, soap gets bubbles in..

Skip to 3 minutes and 22 secondsSPEAKER 7: I think it came from, 'cause maybe that has tiny weeny holes in it, and it's got bicarbonate soda.

Skip to 3 minutes and 30 secondsSPEAKER 6: On the outside, maybe.

Skip to 3 minutes and 31 secondsSPEAKER 7: Yeah.

Skip to 3 minutes and 32 secondsSPEAKER 8: All around it.

Skip to 3 minutes and 34 secondsSPEAKER 7: Maybe it has holes in it. So then when it interacts with the water, the bicarbonate soda comes up, and then the air gets caught and makes a bubble.

Skip to 3 minutes and 43 secondsSPEAKER 8: Yeah.

Skip to 3 minutes and 44 secondsSPEAKER 6: So that it's trapped inside the tub, and it can't go anywhere else.

Skip to 3 minutes and 50 secondsSPEAKER 8: So it's basically forced to come out.

Skip to 3 minutes and 52 secondsSPEAKER 6: Yeah, it's forcing-- it has to come out. So it made the lid pop off, and made a little explosion with the foam off the lid.

Eliciting misconceptions for changing materials

This video provides three examples of how to elicit children’s misconceptions about changing materials.

Example 1

A sentence making activity may be used to elicit the misconception that sugar in water disappears. This example is based on an activity on page 41 from ‘Active Assessment’ by Stuart Naylor and Brenda Keogh.

Mohammed says: “When I stir sugar into water it disappears very slowly.”

Use the following words, as many times as you like to make your own sentences. Do you agree with what he says?

Quickly Particles If melt/s dissolves it will makes it does doesn’t I When sugar water disappears changes

Example 2

An odd one out activity like the one below could be used to elicit any possible misconceptions about the difference between melting and dissolving. This example is based on an activity on page 110 from ‘Active Assessment’ by Stuart Naylor and Brenda Keogh.

Which is the odd one out and why?

  • Baking, Condensing, Heating
  • Mixing, Dissolving, Separating
  • Rusting, Fizzing, Boiling
  • Changing state, Heating, Dissolving
  • Melting, Freezing, Boiling

Example 3

You can use a demonstration of an irreversible change to explore children’s thinking. Choose any example, such as the reaction between baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (dilute acetic acid). This is an activity from Explorify: 3, 2, 1 Lift Off

Place some vinegar into an empty film canister. Place the lid, up side down, next to the film canister and put about half a tea spoon of baking soda onto it.

Then at this point, you stop, and ask the children what they think will happen when you tip the baking soda into the canister.

The quickly put the lid onto the canister, allowing the baking soda to fall inside – and step back!

The reaction between the baking soda and vinegar produced carbon dioxide bubbles. As the gas pressure builds up inside the canister, it blows the lid off and pushes the canister upwards.

Now you can probe the children’s understanding of what happened:

  • What changes in this demonstration?
  • Is it a reversible or irreversible change?
  • What effect does the change have on the plastic canister?
  • How might this reaction be used in day-to-day life?

Plan

During this course, we’ve discussed different techniques to elicit misconceptions in children including: questioning, odd one out, true/false statements, concept cartoons, writing a definition and creating an annotated drawing to explain a concept or idea.

Choose one of these techniques to create a short task for your class to elicit any of the misconceptions around changing materials.

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching Primary Science: Chemistry

National STEM Learning Centre