STEM Teaching Tool #37: Beyond 'misconceptions'

UW Institute for Science + Math Education
UW Institute for Science + Math Education

Editor's note: Each month we will bring you a practice brief, outlining a STEM Teaching Tool from the University of Washington's Institute for Science + Math Education, which is led by Dr. Philip Bell, the keynote speaker at the 2017 Nebraska K-12 Science Education Summit.

Practice Brief #37
Beyond “misconceptions”: How to recognize and build on Facets of student thinking

Students bring a range of different ideas for understanding science phenomena, concepts, and representations based on their unique life experiences. Rather than simply viewing students’ intuitive or partially scientific ideas as misconceptions, the diversity of student’s ideas can be considered stepping stones to deeper understanding and teachers should actively engage with them. It is important for teachers to be able to recognize, build on, and respond to the range of ideas—or Facets of students’ thinking—during instruction.

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