These resources have been reviewed and selected by STEM Learning’s team of education specialists for factual accuracy and relevance to teaching STEM subjects in UK schools.

Understanding misconceptions

The materials in this resource are from the Secondary National Strategy ‘Progressing to Level 6 and beyond in science’ project. They were intended for science teachers who are focusing on understanding students’ misconceptions.

The Understanding misconceptions teacher guidance file provides strategies for teachers using appropriate resources and should be read first - in conjunction with the Understanding misconceptions steps table document. Both documents provide a breakdown of each key skill, with suggested strategies for moving students from one level, or ‘step’, to the next. These levelled skills are also presented in the Understanding misconceptions pupil speak sheet so that students can assess their own progress and plan what they could do to improve. For teachers that are new to the whole idea of student misconceptions, there is also Understanding misconceptions - introduction, which provides a number of examples from tests and other sources.

The teacher and classroom resources include example questions teachers can use in class (Identifying misconceptions) and a student questionnaire (Pupil misconceptions) – both of which can be used to help explore any misunderstandings students may have on the following topics: materials, cells, forces and electricity. Scientific everyday word meanings is a list of examples of words that have both everyday and scientific meanings, which might lead to misconceptions.

There is also additional guidance on running discussions to explore misconceptions (Successful science discussions), although many more resources on running discussions can be found in the Effective Group Talk resources of the Level 6+ project.

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