This online workshop: Conceptual Change: How New Ideas Take Root? is based on ideas presented in Good Thinking! an original animated series developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) and FableVision Studios as a professional development resource for K-12 science educators.
Research over the past 30 years has documented what teachers have known from experience that students do not come to class as “blank slates”, but most often with a diverse set of ideas, concepts, and mental models that they have already developed from their life experiences. These ideas are called preconceptions, which are student ideas constructed before having formal instruction. Students use their own rules and mental models to make sense of their observations, and to explain phenomena that they encounter every day. One of the critical and ongoing challenges for educators across all grades is to discover students’ understandings and their mental models about phenomena, and when these models are based on misconceptions to provide opportunities for students to develop new understanding based on scientifically accepted concepts.
The activities in this workshop are designed to help teachers identify student misconceptions and understand their thought process, and to provide strategies that can lead students to develop sound reasoning and to experience conceptual change.
The format and organization of the workshop are designed to allow individuals to successfully complete the online learning activities independently as a self-paced class, without the need for outside input or feedback. At the same time, this format was designed to flexibly fit into PLC meetings, PD workshops, or any time that you and your colleagues can meet to absorb some new ideas and discuss your experiences as educators. While the students in the Good Thinking! classroom are identified as being in the 5th grade, the pedagogical strategies are relevant to all levels of instruction.
Common Abbreviations in the Text
§ Science and Engineering Practices (SEP)
§ Crosscutting Concepts (CCC)
§ Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
§ Framework for K-12 Science Education (Framework)