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Online Course for Teachers: Teaching Evolution

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 SESSION 6: How Can You Address Student Misconceptions about Evolution?

Facilitator Notes for SESSION 6

Engage Part B
Note 1: Be sure to have participants read all the background information on Mr. Bingman's class and school to understand the context for the lesson. This background information includes lesson handouts. Student misconceptions include: (1) humans evolved from monkeys; (2) giraffes' success in necking results in longer necks, (3) appendix screens out bacteria from dirty food, and (4) humans' little toes are disappearing because they aren't used.
Elaborate Part A
Note 2: Be sure to have participants read all the background information on Ms. Havlik's class and school. This includes the lesson handouts and the pre-activity article on genetic diseases that her students read.

Note 3: Students developed their understanding by generating their own data, creating explanations based on their data, teacher-guided inquiry, and by Ms. Havlik's use of an article on genetic diseases to frame the lesson.

Evaluate Part A
Note 4: Have participants review all three of the PowerPoint presentations from Mr. Bingman's class to assess student work. Note that these presentations originally included dissolve transitions and sounds.
Evaluate Part B
Note 5: Have participants consider how Mr. Bingman could have used questions to assess the accuracy of students' knowledge before their presentations. For example, he could have asked how they made decisions about which Web sites they used, how they decided the Web site gave them accurate information, and how many Web sites they used for reference. Focus participants' discussion on how Mr. Bingman might plan future lessons based on his students' misconceptions.

Note 6: Have participants focus their discussion on the kinds of questions Ms. Havlik asks to assess student understanding and other possible assessments she could have used. Focus participants' discussion on how Ms. Havlik might plan future lessons based on her students' misconceptions.

Evaluate Part C
Note 7: This is an important culminating activity for this session. Encourage as many participants as possible to share their analyses.

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