Observation misconceptions and concepts
Initial perceptual naive misconceptions (any age)
- Observations are only things that can be seen.
- Every body sees things the same as I do.
Beginning concepts (preschool - 7 years)
- Observations are made with five sense: see, touch, hear, smell, and taste.
- People learn with careful observation.
- Objects can be observed as whole objects and by their properties.
- Questions can be answered by looking at objects.
- People learn by observing interactions with objects.
- Observations can be compared through communication about the objects and the object's properties.
- When people report different observations they can take more observations to try and find agreement.
- Tools can be used to make better and more accurate observations (magnifiers...).
- Observations help collect information that can be used to answer questions.
- Communication helps us explain observations as evidence and reasoning to each other.
Intermediate concepts (7 years - 11 years)
- Questions can be answered by organizing objects and or events to conduct a fair test and observing the results.
- Recording observations helps remember information.
- Observations are used to help make explanations.
- When people disagree on observational descriptions, they usually make more observations to clarrify.
- When people disagree on explanations for an observation, they usually make more observations to refine their explanations.
- Observation, creativity, and logical argument are used to explain how things work.
Literate concepts (11+)
- Questions can be created so observations of objects and or events can be made by conducting a controlled experiment to use the observations as evidence for answering the question.
- The data can be transformed and analized by ordering, classifying, creating a model, and or logical explanation to lead to a conclusion related to the initial question.
- Observations are made to see how properties change.
- Properties that change are variables.
- Observations are used to describe change in variables.
- If more than one variable changes at a time, the outcome may not be attributed to one of the variables.
- It may not be possible to identify or control all variables.
- What people expect to observe often affects what they actually do observe.
- Strong beliefs about what they expect to happen can prevent them from seeing other results.
- Scientists try to avoid observational errors by having different people conduct independent studies.
- Unexpected observations can lead to new discoveries and to new investigations.
- There are many kinds of signals in the world that are not observable with human senses.