Teaching Secondary Science: Constructing Meaning and Developing Understanding

By Keith Ross; Liz Lakin et al. | Go to book overview

PART III
Knowledge and
Understanding: Difficult
Ideas

Introduction to Part III

In these four chapters we cannot cover all the difficult concepts in the science curriculum, but we can focus on some key concepts where research has identified alternative ideas. We explore approaches to teaching these concepts, explaining why pupils have difficulty in coming to a scientific view about them and why the naïve ideas so easily build up (even appearing in websites and textbooks – we challenge you to find some in this book!). The teaching sequence we proposed in Part II of the book relies on us, as teachers, to understand these naïve ideas of our pupils and either challenge or build on them, and then give learners the chance to re-interpret them – a process where pupils take ownership of the ideas and are given plenty of opportunity to use them. We resort to last-minute cramming when we fail in this deeper approach to learning. The chapters that follow show how important it is for successful teachers to have good, up-to-date and passionate subject knowledge with a clear understanding of their pupils’ ideas. They are exemplified by key concepts from chemistry (Chapter 14), physics (Chapter 15), biology (Chapter 16) and earth sciences and astronomy (Chapter 17).

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