MISCONCEPTIONS : Class 3 | Form & Function

Students everywhere have some MISCONCEPTIONS associated specially with Science. It is a subject which involves a lot of Out-Of-The-BOX! Thinking, about which we have told you earlier as yesterday. Lets see, what the students of Class 3 have done with it.

(1) Why was the question asked in ASSET test?

Students learn about the concept of time and ways of measuring it. This question was designed to test if students can make a reasonable guess about the age of the oldest person in the world based on their general observation of people and their general knowledge.

(2) What did students answer?

Around 27% of the students have answered this question correctly. 32% of the students have selected the wrong option D and another 29% have selected the wrong option B.
Possible reason for choosing A: Very few students have selected this option and are most probably making a random guess.
Possible reason for choosing B: Students might have seen grandparents in their family of this age and might be thinking that they are the oldest people in the world. Some students may not have seen anyone living beyond this age.
Possible reason for choosing D: Students are probably just looking at the word ‘oldest’ and selecting the option with the largest number.

(3) Learnings

The student response data clearly indicates that most students at this level do not have a sense of how long a human being could possibly live. It appears that the “sense of scale” is not given the importance it deserves in the curriculum. Thus children may be exposed to various means of measuring time and its various units, but they may be hardly aware of the time scale on which various events might be occurring (e.g. how long different animals live, how long it might take to travel from one place to another etc.). This issue of scale is not just limited to time but even faced in other areas of measurement like length, weight etc. Developing a sense of scale can be quite critical to students’ understanding of science, and specific efforts need to be made to help children develop this. One can imagine the difficulty a student would face in later years, if he is not able to really appreciate how small atoms and molecules are, or even what the dimensions of a typical living room are! Developing a sense of scale for things from the earliest years will help in the progressive development of this skill.

(4) How do we handle this?

It is important that students understand the difference between the different terms – antibiotic, antiseptic etc. and understand the effect of using each of them. Students should be able to appreciate such ideas based on the day-to-day experiences and proper logical analysis of those observations. They should be encouraged to observe and question things happening around them. They can then be guided to the correct answer through discussion. The use of antiseptics is one example and there can be various such examples like –
• Why do plants start drooping when not watered for a few days?
• Why don’t we drink antiseptics or disinfectants if they are similar to medicines?
• Can the food cook if the pressure cooker is not sealed? It is important that children observe such things and make a mental model of the working of these things. But it is equally important that we monitor such models and lead them to the scientific way of thinking, as required. Useful resource#2 has some suggestions- the teacher could even suggest some activities for parents to do with children.