Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Private Universe Project in Science

Workshop 1. Astronomy: Eliciting Student Ideas (90 min.)

Whom do we see in the videotape?
We see several Harvard students and faculty who are enormously confused about what causes the seasons. We also see Heather, an articulate, intelligent high school student, who has a great many ideas about astronomy. Interviews with Heather both before and after her classroom lessons about astronomy reveal that she has learned much but is still confused about some key aspects of the subject.

What happens in the videotape?
While some of Heather's ideas after instruction are solid, others seem wildly "off base" from a scientist's point of view. Some of her ideas stubbornly resist change, either in the classroom or during on-camera challenges.

What problem does this session address?
Many of us think that the cause of the seasons has something to do with our distance from the sun, even though this "wrong idea" was never taught to us. Why is it we seem to learn some things that teachers don't teach us?

What teaching strategy does this session offer?
Many techniques for eliciting student ideas have been tested in the classroom. Interviews with students, poster presentations;, prediction questions, group discussions, and journal keeping are some of the most common approaches. This session will address interviewing techniques and journal keeping.

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