Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Fulcrum Institute Development Team

Session Overview

What does it mean to understand?

For the past four weeks, you have been investigating temperature and heat transfer. Now it’s time to link your own science learning to classroom teaching. The teaching focus of this course is formative assessment, identifying where children are in their science learning and using this information to help them move their understanding forward. We'll explain this through a series of case studies, beginning this week with the case of your learning.

How do we know if and how a learner's ideas are developing? What does it take to develop an understanding of a complex idea? You’ll begin by looking closely at the development of some of your own science ideas. Your challenge is to see if you can chart the progression of your learning about temperature or heat transfer from the beginning of Session 1 to your current understanding, and to identify the factors that you think influenced the development of your thinking along the way.

Understanding Goals

  • Understand that complex science concepts develop over time and understanding is not an all-or-none phenomenon;
  • become familiar with some of the research base that describes children’s common ideas about the natural world.

What you Need

  • Science Journal
  • Teaching Journal
  • Harlen's Primary Science: Taking the Plunge