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YCC 2017 & Annenberg, Harvard research: 'Minds of Our Own'

The Splice Savers 'Green Room' was formally launched by Gabrielle Upton MP on 8th September 2017.

The following is a record of the Splice Savers' education journey and the interviews undertaken by them at the MAAS Young Creators Conference 2017.

Can We Believe Our Eyes (Annenberg - Harvard University)?

Why is it that students can graduate from MIT and Harvard, yet not know how to solve a simple third-grade problem in science: lighting a light bulb with a battery and wire?

Beginning with this startling fact, this program systematically explores many of the assumptions that we hold about learning to show that education is based on a series of myths.

Through the example of an experienced teacher, the program (see 54 minute video), takes a hard look at why teaching fails, even when he uses all of the traditional tricks of the trade.

The program shows how new research, used by teachers committed to finding solutions to problems, is reshaping what goes on in schools around the world.

Beach Splice Savers - YCC 2017


Making invisible thinking visible

  1. YCC - Invisible Thinking PART 1 of 2 - MAAS YCC 2017 Students provide a brief description of their projects.

Interviews were conducted by the Splice Savers. This is Part 1. In Part 2, interviewers probe more deeply to help make thinking more visible. Questions are linked to Australian Curriculum for electricity, batteries, circuits and switches.

In Part 1, students provided a brief description of their projects. In Part 2, interviewers probe more deeply to help make thinking more visible. Questions are linked to Australian Curriculum for electricity, batteries, circuits and switches. Interviews were conducted by the Splice Savers.

Classroom sessions AUG 2017 - Misconceptions, mistakes, mishaps & fun (warts & all)

MAAS YCC 2017 Exhibitor list & project summaries (incomplete)

Minds Of Our Own - Teacher Experience

A video documentary on education and learning for K-12 educators and parents; 3 one-hour video programs and guide.

Why don't even the brightest students truly grasp simple science concepts? These video programs pick up on the questions asked in the Harvard/Annenberg Private Universe documentary and further explore how children learn.

Based on large-scale, authentic, longitudinal research, as well as the pioneering work of Piaget and others, Minds of Our Own shows that many of the things we assume about how children learn are simply not true. For educators and parents, these programs bring new insight to debates about education reform.

Produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. 1997

STEM Research links: Teaching & Misconceptions (Annenberg Harvard)

The Future (2 minutes*)

Other Useful References

WARNING: Resources to avoid (and why)

Primary Connections (PC) - Newly revised (2017) 'Circuits & Switches'

The 'Teacher Background Information' in the new PC teaching sessions give some focus to common student misconceptions and confusions of language about electricity.

More importantly, the authors do NOT highlight that these same misconceptions may be held and re-enforced both by the teacher and by the classroom activities and explanations included within the units themselves!

For example, read these quotes copied un-edited from the revised, 2017 version of Primary Connections 'Circuits and switches' for Year 6 primary students:

Circuits & Switches Session 2 - Teacher Background Information - Batteries:

  1. 'When some of the electrons flow from the negative to the positive (through an external circuit) the chemical reactions continue and more electricity is produced.'
  2. 'In this unit we refer to electrical energy transferred by electrons moving around a circuit.'

So, what's wrong with that?

The above are just two examples of fundamental principles that PC presents in ways that are both confusing and scientifically incorrect:

1. Batteries do not produce electricity.

View this table and description for a simple explanation, or a more detailed (but easily readable) explanation at University of Sydney.

Click on the image on right-hand side to see a representation of electromagnetic fields in a simple circuit. See the comment at the bottom of the image, which explicitly states that:

2. Energy is not 'transferred by electrons moving around a circuit'.

For example, an article published by ABC Australia correctly explains:

' โ€” a lot of our language around circuits โ€” feeds into the idea that moving electrons themselves carry energy from one part of a circuit to another. It's a lie.'

'The truth is way more spectacular: the energy doesn't travel through the wires at all โ€” it shoots through the space around them, at the speed of light. (Way to bury the lead, science!)'.

Read the complete article by Bernie Hobbs at ABC Science Australia.

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