Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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From: Alison Reid (areid@cfa.harvard.edu)
Date: Mon Feb 03 2003 - 09:58:39 EST

It's interesting that you mention light as a specific area for
misconceptions: if you have time, take a look at two other
Annenberg Channel offerings specifically about this area: one is
workshop begins its broadcasts again on March 19 on the Channel
(satellite or broadband simulcast) and you can visit its Web site at

The other program of interest would be PRIVATE UNIVERSE PROJECT IN
SCIENCE, "Workshop 5. Vision: Can We Believe Our Own Eyes?" Though
specifically focusing on vision (no pun intended), the misconceptions
that students demonstrate in the show specifically have to do with
the nature and properties of light.

I'd love to hear more about how you straightened out their
misconceptions. As the PRIVATE UNIVERSE series shows, that is no mean
feat: students tend to cling to their own theories, however flawed,
even after careful instruction. Do you have specific activities and
lessons that you recommend? Did the students show that they'd
internalized the lessons in future testing of related concepts?

-Alison Reid

PUP Science 5

>We found out this year that our students could not understand light
>at all. We had a pre-questionnaire in which we asked them about
>radiowaves, how their eyes perceived light, colors, etc. Once we had
>them fill out the questionnaire we talked about light and
>straightened out their many misconceptions. Then we edited our old
>flame lab to include examples of lightbulbs and fluorescent bulbs
>and even looked at some spectral images of different stars and the
>absorption and emission lines. It made them get the lab much better.

Alison Reid
Web Specialist
Harvard-Smithsonian CfA
60 Garden St., MS82
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-496-7680


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