Combating Misconceptions Before Class Even Starts

Birds flap their wings up and down to fly, blood in our veins is blue, seeds are not alive, and when wood burns the wood disappears and ceases to exist are all examples of common misconceptions that our students may have. How do we combat these misconceptions in our classes?

What Is A Misconception? Why Are They Important To Address?

Misconceptions- a belief that contradicts the currently accepted state of scientific evidence.

Misconceptions are socially accepted as facts but are not based on scientific facts. Our students may have these misconceptions because

  • The misconceptions are a part of Generational knowledge
  • The Students use Logic to explain the world but logic does not always equal facts
  • Built into the student’s belief systems
  • Prior misunderstood/misinformed Knowledge

These Misconceptions are very important to address in the classroom but it can be difficult in this blog we discuss a method to help address misconceptions in a respectful and insightful way.

RADAAR . . .


  • Research & Anticipate- Before planning your lessons do research to understand the students’ conception.
    • Are there certain phrases or terms that need to be extra-clarified
    • What are the key ideas and misconceptions,
    • what language do we need to be careful about,
    • what have children learned about previously that will help them build their understanding of this topic?
    • What questions can I anticipate my students to have
  • Diagnose & Address
    • How can my students uncover the misconceptions
    • Can my students come to rethink these misconceptions through their own understanding?
      • Using Cartoons, activities, stations, etc…
    • finding out what our students think, then building on these ideas
  • Assess & Review
    • We can’t assume that ideas will ​‘stick’ forever, or that our pupils will understand how they link to other things they learn.
    • Work to make the students thinking visible
      • see my blog on Making Thinking Visible
    • We need to help pupils to review their understanding of key concepts, and explicitly prompt them to make links between ideas
    • Link to Future Topics

(EEF Blog)

A RADAAR plan for Atomic Structure by The Royal Society of Chemistry is linked here

Common Misconceptions in Biology

Misconceptions such as those mentioned in the video below can be hard to unlearn.

Still, with some legwork before each lesson using the RADAAR method along with breaking down the facts in a way students can UNCOVER the material on their own, our students will learn the new concepts and teach their friends too.

Thank You for making it this far!
Comment below the most common misconceptions your students have.

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  1. Hi Trinity, this is a very well-thought-out and organized post! I love RADAAR as a strategy, thank you for introducing me to the concept, I will be sure to implement this strategy in my future classroom! I also appreciate the examples you provided in the videos!

    • RADAAR is going to be extremely helpful for us when we plan for our future classrooms. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. RADAAR sounds like a great strategy to address misconceptions, I’ve never heard of it before either. I love the idea of being proactive in your lessons by addressing common misconceptions early and I think RADAAR could really help.

    • Thanks, Lydia! I hope RADAAR is a useful strategy you can keep in your “teacher toolbox”. Misconceptions are hard to catch if you don’t do research into what misconceptions your students have before class starts. RADAAR helps alleviate that confusion by getting an insight into what the students could be thinking.

  3. Hi Trinity, I really liked your post and thought it was visually appealing! I have never been introduced to the concept of RADAAR before reading your post. I think this is a framework that will definitely be beneficial to us as future teachers when making lesson plans. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Hannah! I wanted to give us another way of looking at misconceptions that weren’t just googling what misconceptions our students MAY have and somehow incorporating them into the lesson. I wanted a way we can plan our lessons around the misconceptions to allow our students to uncover the material in a helpful and independent way and I think RADAAR is a good strategy to help with that.

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