Spotlight on Strategies

Myth Bustin'

Background

All students enter the classroom with their own ideas and understanding of how the world around them works. Many times these ideas are inaccurate. In fact, misconceptions in science are quite common. Myth Bustin' is a way for teachers to help students identify and work through the misconceptions they have about a specific concept so it doesn't become a barrier for future learning. Based on a popular Discovery Channel show called MythBusters, this strategy takes the idea of myth busting and applies it to a concept that students will explore through digital media. The teacher will give students a list of statements that they will have to "bust" or "confirm" as they watch a short video. Not only can this help trigger what students already know about the topic, but it also helps them focus on exactly what we deem important.

Example

Students will be given a list of 5 statements to "confirm" or "bust" about genetics and heredity. They will watch Crash Course: Heredity and explore the Learn Genetics site in order to complete the Myth Bustin' activity.


The 5 statements are:


1. We are a perfect genetic "blend" of our parents.

2. Our traits are all controlled by just one gene.

3. Recessive alleles are less common than dominant alleles.

4. Genes cannot effect more than one trait.

5. Certain genetic traits are more common in males than in females.


Students will draw a line down a blank sheet of paper in their notebook to create two columns. One column will be labeled "bust" and the other will be labeled "confirm." Before any information is viewed, students will pair up and in their notebook decide whether each statement belongs in the "confirm" or "bust" column. Once their predictions have been made students will independently view the video and website and decide whether they were correct. Finally, the entire class will come together to review the statements and share evidence for their reasoning.

Challenge

This activity can be modified in a number of ways and used in any content area. Try having students choose a topic within a larger unit and have them list 5 things they think they already know about that topic. Students can then try to find their own resources to help them "confirm" or "bust" their prior knowledge. They can then present their finding to the entire class. The possibilities with this activity are virtually endless!

Citations and Credits

Websites:


Overcoming Misconceptions: Misconceptions as Barriers to Understanding Science. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.cirtl.net/node/2628


Robelen, E. (2013, May 31). Knowing Student Misconceptions Key to Science Teaching, Study Finds. Retrieved April 9, 2016, from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2013/05/


C. (2012). Heredity: Crash Course Biology #9. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBezq1fFUEA


Images:


Chromosome. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from: http://www.salon.com/2014/04/27/reprieve_for_men_y_chromosome_is_not_vanishing/


DNA. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/


Gene. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from: http://www.femexer.org/tag/sindrome/