# MISCONCEPTIONS: SCIENCE : Form & Function

World Cup has already started, and the Board Exams are around the corner! So, we had started a MISCONCEPTIONS Series, so that you don’t need to make hell out of enjoyment and studies. Read the all new article below, and start coping up with your Boards & World Cup!

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

Designing an experiment to test a given idea is an important scientific skill. This question was asked to test if students are able to identify the factor that is varying in the given setups of the experiment and can identify the question that is being tested.

### (2) What did students answer?

Around 51% of the students answered this question correctly. 26% of the students selected the wrong answer A.
Possible reason for choosing A: Students are probably just catching the term ‘water was given to the plants’ and do not understand what the question is asking.
Possible reason for choosing C: Very few students have selected this option and it seems that they have made a random guess.
Possible reason for choosing D: Very few students have selected this option and it seems that they have made a random guess. They might even be the students who thought that the first plant is growing in the open and the other one inside a room and so the experiment is to find out if plants need air to grow.

### (3) Learnings

There are many questions that we ask in our day-to-day life. And to answer them, we generally rely on certain facts or known ideas. However, there are certain questions which are slightly different and they can be answered only by experimenting. Experiment design is one of the most important skills in science that should be instilled in students from primary grades.
The most important thing to be kept in mind while designing an experiment is to keep all the factors, apart from the one being tested, constant, so as to make sure that no other factor interferes in the results.
Students are expected to answer this question based on this understanding. In this question, they should see that the two plants are similar in every aspect. They even receive equal amounts of water. The only thing that is different is the place where they are kept – one is in the hot sun and another in a dark room. Therefore, what is different between the two setups is whether the plant is receiving light or not. And so the question that is being tested is whether plants require light or not.
Though almost half the students seem to understand this idea, a fairly large amount of students selected the wrong answer A. They probably do not understand this concept and are relying on certain terms like ‘he gave water to the plants’ to answer the question. They do not realize that if both the plants are watered, we cannot test whether a plant needs water to grow or not. To check that question, you have to water one plant and not water another one. Only then you can test that question. But this kind of reasoning seems to be missing.

### (4) How do we handle this?

Allow students to make observations, ask questions and generate ideas. Guide them so that they can think of conducting simple experiments to answer the question.
• Allow them to design simple experiments. To begin with, they can be asked to design different experiments for each of the options. If they go wrong, instead of giving the answers, challenge their experiments and guide them to design the correct experiment. Once done, let them figure out the answer to the question asked.
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