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Knowing what ideas children already have about a science topic is critical ...
Knowing what ideas children already have about a science topic is critical to providing appropriate learning situations. Time spent revealing the ideas they have is a good investment. Quite apart from alerting you, the teacher, to their current understanding of soil, it also gets them going--focusing them on what they will be doing. It gives students a stake in the learning enterprise; "This is the bit I have to offer." Finally, it fixes a benchmark for each student against which he or she can make later comparisons, which allows him or her to see how understanding has progressed. Each of the investigations that follows is led by an investigative question. It is important that students come to realize that scientists try to find out about the world by asking questions, predicting likely answers and conducting tests to see if their ideas are correct or not.