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Confronting fifth graders’ misconceptions about states of matter and the water cycle
I am currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa and have been learning a lot about components that are extremely important when teaching science. One of these is looking at the misconceptions of your students. This article identifies several misconceptions that students have when it comes to clouds. It goes in depth on what they are and how teachers can address these misconceptions in a way that will transform them. This also explains how certain actions that teachers might take while teaching the water cycle can enforce these misconceptions. They end up advising teachers to look more into how clouds and rain form, so the teacher can properly address misconceptions. This article then goes through the water cycle and goes in depth on how the water transforms. This helps educate teachers even further in the different forms of water (solid, liquid, gas). I would definitely recommend teachers to read this article before teaching about solid, liquid and gas in regards to water because it can be confusing to teach for everyone.
This article opened my eyes to the misconceptions students may have about clouds. I have never truly thought about what clouds may look like in the eyes of children. I know I didn't think about the natural phenomenon of clouds much as a child. My only thought was that they release rain. I love how in depth this article goes into about the resources of confusion when teaching the water cycle. Teaching the water cycle and states of matter are closely related instructional topics, so I would definitely use this article as a resource when teaching these topics to my students. I especially love the idea of whether a cloud is a solid, liquid, or a gas as a discussion starter to spark student thinking.
Knowing the misconceptions to look for before teaching this lesson to my fifth graders is one of the most useful tools to have. This article clearly discusses examples from two separate fifth grade classrooms, showing strategies they used that led to misconceptions. I would not have thought before about my students getting the differences between boiling and evaporation mixed up/together. The explanation for these is clear and concise. The same goes for the second misconception in the lesson: how students think of clouds.
It was helpful to see the Hydrologic Cycle spelled out clearly within the article as well. The three main parts of the water cycle are put in terms that a fifth grader could understand, helping me get into the mindset to teach my fifth graders.
This was a well written and clear article, though I would like to know more misconceptions that students could have. Jake and Sandy must have come across more misconceptions in their classroom and seeing these would be even more helpful.
Describing what students believe clouds to be in the beginning, connecting the article to NGSS standards, and using real life teachers shaped my understanding of a teacher to fifth grade mindset. This made the article real and practical; I will definitely consider these misconceptions in my research before teaching.
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