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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