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

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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One Comment

  1. Kristie Babinsack
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I find it very encouraging that that this series of curriculum has now included K-2 instruction. It is very important to engage young learners even before they fully understand what exactly it is that they are learning. Developing interest and having them start to investigate the world around them will make them curious and eager to learn as they grow. It is wonderful that the younger students will now have a sense of learning and be able to brainstorm their thoughts and test their theories before they even label Science. Those first formal years are ones of much wonder and many questions and so much learning takes place during that time. Having a curriculum to help formulate that learning into meaningful lessons will enhance learning and prepare them for elementary science and beyond.

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