Will it Float?by: Jeff Major

Journal Article

Student preconceptions are one of the greatest challenges we face as science teachers. This Predict, Explain, Observe, and Explain (PEOE) activity challenges students’ preconceived notions about why matter floats or sinks when placed in a liquid. The idea behind this model is to do a demonstration that first confirms students’ conceptions followed by a second, similar demonstration that provides discrepant information creating cognitive dissonance. Learning happens as students are forced to modify their conceptions so that their view of how things work is not in conflict with what they are seeing.

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Reviews (1)
  • on Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:59 PM

The author uses a discrepant event, the difference between the density of liquid and solid water, to help students to understand the nature of the particle theory of matter and density. It is a good introduction and can get the students to really think about why things have different densities. It is an interesting lesson, but the particle nature of matter is something that is currently middle level and high school topic.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

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