Formative Assessment Probes: Uncovering Students' Concept of Matterby: Page Keeley

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This column focuses on promoting learning through assessment. This month’s probe can be used to elicit young children's ideas about matter. The probe reveals commonly held ideas elementary students have about the types of objects, materials, and substances that are considered matter.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (2)
  • on Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:25 PM

It was surprising to read that there are high school students that don't consider air as matter. I enjoyed the suggestions in the article that can help teachers narrow in on what materials would be considered matter.

Zoxchilt Z  (Fairborn, OH)
Zoxchilt Z (Fairborn, OH)

  • on Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:33 AM

This article is interesting in that it takes something that seems simple, like matter, and asks students about common items, asking them to explain if the item is matter and if so, then how do they know it's matter. Some of the responses are enlightening in that you can see students' reasoning for qualifying an object as matter or not matter. I've often lamented that there is little to no professional development for elementary teachers in the area of science. This article proves that we need to train science teachers how to question students in order to determine why they come to the conclusions they do so that we can correct misunderstandings in the early years so they do not hold on to these misconceptions throughout their entire school years and into adulthood.

Pamela Dupre  (Lake Charles, LA)
Pamela Dupre (Lake Charles, LA)

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