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Misconceptions in Key Stage Three Science Training Materials

These Key Stage Three National Strategy training materials from the Department for Education are designed to run a session with science teachers to help them: *identify commonly held misconceptions (alternative conceptions, alternative frameworks) *establish the importance of models and analogies *identify strategies for identifying and correcting students’ misconceptions *plan to apply the outcomes of training in the classroom.


The session is structured around the ‘key ideas’ referred to in the Framework for Teaching Science: Years Seven, Eight and Nine, as follows:

*Session 1 - Introduction to misconceptions in Key Stage 3 science: Gives participants the opportunity to reflect on the relatively unchanging nature of the misconceptions in science held in society. Participants compare misconceptions held by their students following a pre-unit task.

*Session 2 - Using models and analogies: Considers why the use of models and analogies is important in assisting students in their understanding of the key scientific ideas and how they can be used effectively in teaching. The idea of a ‘good enough’ model is used.

*Session 3 - Particles: Students’ ideas on the nature of solids, liquids and gases are considered, and opportunities are provided to use appropriate models to illustrate different phenomena.

*Session 4 - Cells: Misconceptions and the use of physical models to teach cells is given as a teaching strategy.

*Session 5 - Energy: A strategy is provided to elicit the misconceptions students hold and be provided with alternative models that can be used to teach energy.

*Session 6 - Interdependence and Earth science: Misconceptions around the notion that plants get their food from the soil, and the rock cycle. Strategies for identifying and providing accepted scientific ideas are provided.

*Session 7 - Planning follow-up work and plenary: Planning to apply some of the ideas in the training in their own teaching, particularly with regard to the teaching of forces – a key scientific idea that will not be discussed in detail in the training.

These materials consist of: *Tutors notes – includes Overview of the unit, Unit objectives, Outline programme, Synopsis, Preparing for the unit, Resources needed for each session and Evaluation forms. *Training slides for the session *Participants resource pack – copies of the slides and handouts used in the training.

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