NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ921119
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8148
The Mitten Problem
Keeley, Page
Science and Children, v48 n7 p26-28 Mar 2011
The theory of "immaculate insulation" is prevalent among students. Research indicates that students often believe that some materials and objects, such as blankets or mittens, are intrinsically warm. Likewise, they believe that some objects and materials, such as metals, are cold. One effective way to gain insight into how students understand concepts in order to facilitate conceptual change in the classroom is to investigate just the opposite--how do their misunderstandings develop? Probes such as the "Mitten Problem" are what this author calls a P-E-O probe: Predict, Explain, Observe. Students commit to an outcome, provide an explanation for their prediction of that outcome, and test their ideas by making observations. When their observations do not match their prediction, new explanations (and sometimes more testing) are needed. This probe will help them overcome misunderstandings by allowing them to test their predictions and muddle through uncertainties until they find a new explanation. (Contains 1 figure and 1 online resource.)
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A