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Overcoming misconceptions in Primary Science

by Sinta Ary Gasella

Misconceptions in Science appear in students due to several inputs they receive during early or later years from stories and other materials that have fictional representation, pictures or videos of Science related topics or issues. It is related to constructivism theory that says learners generate knowledge from their previous experiences which are perceived differently among individuals (Goris & Dyrenfurth, nd). The real cause is children’s understanding and interpretation of the concept delivered from the visualization and their understanding of it. A research of science misconceptions revealed that the level of misconceptions varied among concepts (Thompson & Logue, 2006).

Science class teaches knowledge in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and practices learner’s scientific inquiry skills. Misconceptions are mostly related to and affect the knowledge domain. It will take time for a student to grasp the topic and understand the concepts of the topic when they already have their incorrect understanding formed. As Science teachers, we need to help that student fix the misconception before exploring deeper and more complex concepts of the topic. Below, I share some tips for overcoming misconceptions among Primary Students in Science class.

1. Providing reflective questions

Helping pupils evaluate a concept makes them clarify their understanding and clear the confusion. Teachers can ask questions related to the topic wherein the questions are easy to understand and lead them to think the topic thoroughly. One can start by looking for the reasons and basis for their misunderstanding of the topic, followed by some questions that guide them to think again if their understanding matches the facts or if these even make sense. This way is very beneficial in developing student’s critical thinking.

2. Presenting actual models

While throwing questions is the easiest tip to follow up the misconceptions, getting a real model of the topic needs preparation. However, it is worth the quality of the result. Presenting an actual model of what they have learned not only gives a clear picture of the topic or concept but also helps the students to grasp the topic faster. Showing models confirms the abstract knowledge the students have received and helps one to proceed with further explanations smoothly.

3. Watching videos

Watching video is necessary in Science classes regardless of the topic. It has visual and auditory aspects that give clear and accurate representations. Through videos, students can get a confirmation of their misconceptions. Videos are well-liked by young and adult learners, especially for the topics that they cannot see often in everyday life. In Science class, videos can be presented in all topics including Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

4. Doing experiments

Experiments are fun! Experiments are significant in fostering scientific learning. Science consists of 40% knowledge and 60% scientific inquiry skills. Carrying out experiments can be an effective tool where students can explore the topics and concepts. It does not necessarily need to be a fascinating complex experiment, but simple and understandable by students. Moreover, good experiments are the ones that allow students to do these themselves and meet the learning objectives and skills.

Activities are available for teachers to be tried on overcoming misconceptions on students, however it is important to note that it must be a student-centered approach and interactive learning should be heavily implemented (Seo, et al, 2017). The choice of ways in overcoming the primary students’ misconceptions in Science is on the teacher’s hand as the teacher is the one who knows their students’ nature better.

Reverence Goris, T., & Dyrenfurth, M. Students ’ Misconceptions in Science , Technology , and Engineering.

Seo, K., Park, S., & Choi, A. (2017). Science Teachers’ Perceptions of and Approaches towards Students’ Misconceptions on Photosynthesis: A Comparison Study between US and Korea. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics Science and Technology Education, 13(1).

Thompson, F., & Logue, S. (2006). An exploration of common student misconceptions in science. International Education Journal, 7(4), 553-559.


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