Misconceptions Within the Classroom.

Alternate ideas and misconceptions come in all shapes and sizes within the classroom. You might encounter subtle differences among students ranging to major conceptions that completely alter the thinking of your students. However, uncovering the reasons and realities behind these beliefs will lead to different scenarios within the classroom.

One misconception that I held during my middle and high school education was the temperature of boiling substances. The most common among them included water, but the base idea is that boiling substances increase in temperature and will boil faster as a result. However, the boiling point will generally stay at the same temperature (excluding pressure and other factors). So, how might this be addressed in the classroom?

First, the background knowledge should be assessed.

  • In the age of technology, teachers can create anonymous polls.
  • Propose a question of how students might increase the speed at which they can boil a specific amount of water.
  • Have students create a graph to show their prior knowledge

With classroom data, you will be able to determine the extent of the focus on this subject, but there are multiple further options to expand with the circumstances of temperature, boiling points, and steam. But first, a simple setup for this misconception

  • Glass container
  • Heat source (burner, hotplate, blowtorch)
  • water
  • temperature probe of some sort
  • Stand and clamps to help position the probe.

This is very simple, but the options for student exploration from this point are multiple. For instance, following the guide of the following teacher, the difference between tiny liquid droplets in steam and water vapor can be distinguished and explored.

However, just doing the demonstration or having students perform it themselves is only the beginning. Focus on drawing out questions and methods from the students.

  • What are you observing?
  • Describe a possible mechanism for your observations.
  • How might you create a graph to demonstrate time vs. temperature?
  • What other areas does this provoke your mind to wander?
  • How might this experiment be open to changes?

This method for tackling this specific misconception is simple, but make no mistake, some misconceptions within multiple disciplines of science will have stronger pushback. Whether it be cultural, religious, or another reason, students will have alternate ideas on various subjects. It is your goal as a teacher to identify teachable moments and capitalize on each circumstance.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.