2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 304-9
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


MILLHAM, Rosemary A., Secondary Education, SUNY New Paltz, 1 hawk drive, old main 134B, New Paltz, NY 12561

Why do science misconceptions persist in the general population, including educators? In October 2013, Millham and da Cunha (the authors) conducted a science misconception workshop, “Using Science Misconceptions for Data-driven Decision Making”, at the Kappa Delta Phi (KDP) Biennial Convocation in Dallas, Texas. The convocation theme, “Connecting in a Big Way,” provided a framework for the authors to address the objectives of the Convocation; leadership and or policy, research and/or action research, and instructional practice or strategies.

This workshop focused on demonstrating instructional strategies that bring about understandings through successful verbal and written explanation of science concepts – the use of academic language – and modeling concepts through interactive role-play. The workshop replicated instructional intervention strategies implemented by teachers who participated with their students as a part of the authors’ research studies with middle school students.

The Convocation workshop results were similar to those gathered in the authors’ research where 60 percent of the middle school students in the study chose to disagree with the statement, “The phases of the Moon are caused by the shadow of the Earth” (the correct choice), while 68 percent of those students could not accurately explain why they disagreed. The Convocation participants shared their agree/disagree responses (65 percent disagreed) with 85 percent of the participants not able to effectively explain why they agreed or disagreed with the statement. These results are disturbing; the participants are educators in the K-16 setting – many teaching science.