Calling all science teachers. I need some help. My Year 8s are currently learning about the particle model and states of matter. Like I mentioned in my previous post, many students have various misconceptions on the particle.
Today Year 8s made home made thermometers to learn how expansion and contraction (see image above)
They have already learnt about how movement of particles is related to the amount of energy they have, which then determines the state of the object. After they made their homemade thermometers and observed the liquid expanding and rising in hot water and the liquid contracting and falling in ice water, they wrote a paragraph using some sentence starters, that led them to use the particle model to explain their observations and explain how real thermometers work.
I had a one-to-one conference with each student to go through their explanations to make sure I identify their misconceptions. Here are some common misconceptions from my Year 8s:
-When particles are heated they expand
-When particles are cooled they contract
-Particles are inside matter (as opposed to matter being made of particles)
Many of my Year 8s are actually thinking that the particles themselves become larger and smaller. They are confusing the particles and the matter made out of these particles.
What can I do to challenge these misconceptions? I don’t want to just tell them to reword their explanation. I want to give them a learning experience that makes them realise their current understanding is wrong.