Tag Archives: science

Did you know that babies grow into adults?

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It is easy to assume that children see the world the same way as we do as adults.

However, research has shown that there are some very common misconceptions about science that a lot of children have.

A good teacher and tutor, knows these common misconceptions and can ask questions to tease these out of students to ensure correct learning takes place.

These misconceptions aren’t down to intelligence, in fact sometimes the opposite as they are down to children actually thinking about the world around them and what they expect to happen.

Well-designed diagnostic questions that experienced tutors use aim to elicit evidence about student learning and so result in more successful results. This is what makes a good tutor, the experience telling them what misconceptions are likely, what questions to ask to gain evidence of these and then the ability to teach and plan activities to counteract these misconceptions. You can’t do this using bought in resources!

Common Misconceptions:

Teachers were surveyed as part of a research project and asked to rank how difficult their children found certain concepts. These were the top ranking in terms of numbers of children who had an issue with the concept:

  1. Babies grow into adult
  2. Ice is frozen water
  3. There are many sources of sound
  4. Plants need light and water
  5. Some materials can be changed in shape (children often just think material is cloth or fabric)
  6. New plants are made from seeds (they often think a baby plant is inside the seed)
  7. Sounds are heard when they enter the ear
  8. Darkness is the absence of light (they think darkness can be turned on and off)
  9. Electrical devices don’t work if there is a break in the circuit (they often get confused by fridges always being cold)
  10. Growth is gradual and continuous (they often think you just grow on your birthday)
  11. Worms are animals (they assume animal means four legged and furry)

How to deal with misconceptions

FIRST YOU HAVE TO KNOW A MISCONCEPTION IS THERE!!

I’ll repeat it as it is vital….you cannot assume anything with children or students of any age. Never assume a misconception is present or not. You have to assess. Each child is unique and sees the world in a different way, they have had different experiences and so arrive with different ideas.

Any good teacher or tutor will start a new topic or session with assessment. We often think assessment is just sitting an exam at the end of a topic but we need to assess for learning to take place too. We cannot possibly teach anything without knowing what a student knows or not.

Parents looking for a tutor

If a tutor just arrives at your house with a ready made lesson plan without ever meeting or speaking to you and your child…..please consider finding a new tutor!

It is impossible to teach or support students in any subject without assessing them first.

We are currently offering free assessment and goal setting sessions for students in Wirral and beyond. For me, this is the most important part of beginning tutoring as I will never arrive with a pre-built bought in lesson plan, I need to know your child, their strengths and weaknesses, what ideas they already have about the subject.

References:

Karen Pine , David Messer & Kate St. John (2001) Children’s Misconceptions in Primary Science: A Survey of teachers’ views, Research in Science & Technological Education, 19:1, 79-96, DOI: 10.1080/02635140120046240

This website is great for looking at the research into misconceptions and how common they are – be warned it is addictive looking them all up!

http://assessment.aaas.org/

Women in Science Day 2019

Wirral Tutoring Star Goals - STEM

Year on year there is an increase in women entering STEM A Levels in England, with further increases in the number of females studying STEM and undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

This is amazing news for women and the STEM industries!

I’m a proud STEM graduate and have worked in science and maths education since 2005. Science and Maths are great subjects to study at A Level, they are always amongst the most popular subjects that students choose and for very good reasons.

Benefits of STEM A Levels

  1. There are many careers which utilise STEM skills, not just the traditional research jobs. So you open yourself up to a lot of academic opportunities.
  2. We live in a technological world and so a solid understanding of science and maths are going to be vital for future careers.
  3. Most employers will expect you to have at least a C in maths (in the old system) at GCSE and so an A Level will give you an even bigger advantage.
  4. You learn a rich variety of skills such as: researching, logic, analytical skills, problem-solving which are all sought after, not to mention useful!
  5. They are versatile subjects which pair with many others, even in humanities and arts subjects.

How to get help in STEM subjects

If you’re already studying a STEM subject but finding it challenging then there are many options. I believe EVERYONE can achieve in maths and science with the correct support.

  • Talk to your current teachers and school – there maybe extra revision sessions you can attend in school..
  • Consider getting some private tutoring, sometimes the one on one support can be what you need to give you that extra confidence. I am more than happy to support you with these subjects, either in person or online. See my contact page for how to get in touch.
  • Trust your ability! Maths in particular is a subject people get into the mindset that they can’t do when that is actually far from the truth….you CAN do maths, you just might not be able to do all of it YET.


So let’s keep boosting those number of women in STEM subjects – we can do this!

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