Author Page Keeley continues to provide K–12 teachers with her highly usable and popular formula for uncovering and addressing the preconceptions that students bring to the classroom—the formative assessment probe—in this first book devoted exclusively to life science in her Uncovering Student Ideas in Science series.
In this volume, Keeley addresses the topics of life and its diversity; structure and function; life processes and needs of living things; ecosystems and change; reproduction, life cycles, and heredity; and human biology. Using the probes as diagnostic tools that identify and analyze students’ preconceptions, teachers can easily move students from where they are in their current thinking to where they need to be to achieve scientific understanding. At the same time, use of the probes deepens the teacher’s understanding of the subject matter, suggests instructional implications, and expands assessment literacy. Using the student-learning data gained through the probes to inform teaching and learning is what makes the probes formative.
Each probe is supported by extensive Teacher Notes, which provide background information on the purpose of the probes, related concepts, explanations of the life science ideas being taught, related ideas in the national science standards, research on typical student misconceptions in life science, and suggestions for instruction and assessment.
Uncovering Student Ideas in Science
You don’t have to become a mind reader to understand the ideas young students bring to science class. This collection will help you draw out and then recognize what students know—or think they know—about the natural world. What Are They Thinking? is a compendium of 30 “Formative Assessment Probes” columns from NSTA’s elementary journal Science and Children. Each chapter provides:
• A sample formative assessment probe: a set of interesting questions that root out commonly held, often-mistaken ideas. Geared to elementary students, probe topics range from why you can see the Moon in the daytime to where water goes when it evaporates to what is or isn’t a rock. Your students’ answers to each probe will help you take a step back and figure out how to guide them from where they are conceptually to where they need to be.
• Accompanying teacher notes: easy-to-grasp explanations and advice that tell you how to encourage evidence-based discussion and then monitor students’ understanding.
• A bonus feature: a set of study group questions written especially for this compendium by award-winning author Page Keeley.
So forget about acquiring psychic powers. Instead, turn to What Are They Thinking? to transform both your teaching and your students’ learning about science.
Award-winning author Page Keeley and mathematics expert Cheryl Rose Tobey apply the successful format of Keeley’s best-selling Science Formative Assessment to mathematics. They provide 75 formative assessment strategies and show teachers how to use them to inform instructional planning and better meet the needs of all students. Research shows that formative assessment has the power to significantly improve learning, and its many benefits include:
Stimulation of metacognitive thinking Increased student engagement Insights into student thinking Development of a discourse community