CogSciSci2018/Jasper Green

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Why science teaching is hard, but wonderful!

In this session we will consider some of the challenges to teaching (and learning) science and explore how we can try and get students to think about the right things. There will be lots of ideas to take back to your classroom and I hope you will help me think about how we can make more useful, for more teachers.

🐤 @sci_challenge

Keep it simple

Challenge is not "wrong" per se, but you have to think about when/ why you introduce it.

Understanding words won't (alone) help you to understand text.

Schema help us to relate things to each other. But they're constructed in students' minds.

You can't construct them for other people.

And people can distort stories as they remember them, re-tell them and construct schemas.

Schemas are key - relationships between concepts aids understanding.

One aspect of the job of science teachers is to - develop schemas in students.

Transmission of schema doesn't mean construction happened for the student.


We need to have symptoms to treat

Challenge --> Mistakes --> Feedback

No challenge --> No mistakes --> Feedback?!


Use multiple choice on screen to test schema.

Targetting misconceptions

Students demonstrate on the board.

Thought experiments (e.g. testing understanding of newtons laws)

Ask students to "melt diamond" then "melt methane"

Using unstructured problems

How could a carbon atom from roast chicken to a daffodil?

The green child

Big ideas of Science

The big ideas are the goal of science teaching.


Are we teaching it well enough?

Address schema misconceptions carefully - in planning.

Do we have time: yes - we have 5 years in secondary school to build schema.

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