Teaching for Conceptual Change

Designed by Scott Beiter


Our minds are not perfect. As humans we do have wonderfully complex and adaptable brains that serve us very well. Some of the same reasoning skills that have helped our species in the past can often thwart our current attempts to conceptualize natural phenomena. Our beliefs can be founded on a paucity of evidence or even completely false assumptions and ideas. One of a science teacher's hardest nuts to crack is the misconception. As teachers we must move students beyond simple, incomplete, and false understandings. The 5E model, later expanded to the 7E model, developed by Bybee and others at the BSCS is a great teaching model to not only address misconceptions but build new understandings.

Course Description

This course is intended for those interested in teaching in a science classroom. The course begins with an overview of what misconceptions are and then how to elicit misconceptions from students. Participants in this course will next focus on how to change misconceptions through adapting units to the 7E instructional model.

The course is divided into three units which are listed below. Next to the Unit number is a title which is hyperlinked to the lessons. Within each unit are readings and tasks to help you learn about the topics.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course participants will be able to identify misconceptions and then encourage conceptual change of that misconception via the 7E instructional model.

Unit 1: The Misconception


  • Become aware of various types of misconceptions.
  • Find common misconceptions either through internet research or through classroom practice that pertain to a specific content area.
  • Develop a lesson to promote student dissatisfaction and begin the process of conceptual change.

Unit 2: The 7E Model


  • Learn the components of the 7E model and their purpose.
  • Identify parts of the 7E model in a unit plan.

Unit 3: The 7E Unit Plan for Conceptual Change


  • Construct a 7E model unit plan to address a misconception.


Main Page

ETAP 623 Fall 2009

Scott Beiter Portfolio


Trowbridge, L.W., Bybee, R.W., & Powell, J.C. (2000). Teaching Secondary School Science: Strategies for Developing Scientific Literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill, an imprint of Prentice Hall.

Eisenkraft, Arthur. (2003). Expanding the 5E Model. Science Teacher, v70 n6 p56-59

Rodger W. Bybee, Joseph A. Taylor, April Gardner, Pamela Van Scotter, Janet Carlson Powell, Anne Westbrook, and Nancy Landes (2006). The BSCS 5E Instructional Model: Origins and Effectiveness. BSCS 5415 Mark Dabling Boulevard. Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Cetin, P., Kaya, E., & Geban, O. (2009). Facilitating Conceptual Change in Gases Concepts. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18(2), 130-137. http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.albany.edu

Ceylan, E., & Geban, O. (2009). Facilitating Conceptual Change in Understanding State of Matter and Solubility Concepts by Using 5E Learning Cycle Model. Hacettepe University Journal of Education, 3641-50. http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.albany.edu

Eick, C., Dias, M., & Smith, N. (2009). Middle School Students' Conceptual Learning from the Implementation of a New NSF Supported Curriculum: Interactions in Physical Science[TM]. School Science and Mathematics, 109(1), 45-53. http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.albany.edu

Urey, M., & Calik, M. (2008). Combining Different Conceptual Change Methods within 5E Model: A Sample Teaching Design of "Cell" Concept and its Organelles. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, 9(2), http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.albany.edu

Cibik, A., Diken, E., & Darcin, E. (2008). The Effect of Group Works and Demonstrative Experiments Based on Conceptual Change Approach: Photosynthesis and Respiration. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, 9(2), http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.albany.edu

Tastan, O., Yalcinkaya, E., & Boz, Y. (2008). Effectiveness of Conceptual Change Text-Oriented Instruction on Students' Understanding of Energy in Chemical Reactions. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 17(5), 444-453. http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.albany.edu

Treagust, D., & Duit, R. (2008). Conceptual Change: A Discussion of Theoretical, Methodological and Practical Challenges for Science Education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 3(2), 297-328. http://search.ebscohost.com.libproxy.albany.edu

http://www.imacphysics.org/planning.html. IMAC Physics: Instructional Planning. No Author Listed. Lasts Update February 19, 2009.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeWjMxY5-Kg. Misconceptions and Dead Ends. Sadler P (1994) 'Simple Minds'. QED. BBC2. 19.9.94

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylqqMaswHZg. The World is Flat: Changing Students' Misconceptions of Science. Produced by Veritech Corp.

Science Teaching Reconsidered: A Handbook. Prepared by the Committee on Undergraduate Science Education. National Academy of Sciences. March 2003, 5th Ed. ISBN 0-309-05498-2