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Uncovering Student Ideas in Life Science


Uncovering Student Ideas in Life Science- 25 New Formative Assessment Probes, by Page Keeley, rolled off the press in March 2011. This book contains 25 informative life science questions that can be used by elementary teachers, middle school life science teachers, high school biology teachers, university pre-service educators, and professional developers. Beginning with a Foreword by Dr. Julie Luft of Arizona State University, the book provides an introductory chapter on how formative assessment probes are used in a life science context, followed by 25 probes that include detailed teacher notes. The probes are organized into collections in the following categories: Life and Its Diversity; Structure and Function; Life Processes and Needs of Living Things; Ecosystems and Adaptation; Reproduction, Life Cycles, and Heredity; and Human Biology. You can see a sample probe, "The Virus Debate" and read the introductory chapter from this book at the NSTA Press Web Site. The following is a list of the probes, the related concepts addresses by each probe, and the suggested K-12 grade level(s) for which each probe can be appropriately used:


CUCUMBER SEEDS- living things, seeds, plants, germination, characteristics of life, respiration, dormancy (K-8)

THE VIRUS DEBATE- cells, characteristics of life, living things, virus (7-12)

NO ANIMALS ALLOWED- animals, classification (K-8) IS IT AN AMPHIBIAN?- amphibian, animals, classification, reptile (K-8)

POND WATER- animals, cells, cell structure, organelles,organs, single-celled organisms (3-12)

ATOMS AND CELLS- atom, cells, living things (6-12)

WHICH ONE WILL DRY OUT LAST?- bacteria, cells, cell shape, single-celled organism, surface area, volume (9-12)

CHLOROPHYLL- cells, chlorophyll, chloroplast, energy, leaf, photosynthesis, plants (6-12)

APPLE TREE- chlorophyll, chloroplast, energy, food, leaf, photosynthesis, plants (3-8)

LIGHT AND DARK- energy, photosynthesis, plants, respiration (6-12)

FOOD FOR CORN- food, photosynthesis, plants (6-12)

PUMPKIN SEEDS- behavior of organisms, germination, plants, respiration, tropism (K-8)

ROCKY SOIL- behavior of organisms, plants, tropism (K-8)

IS IT A CONSUMER?- animals, consumer, food web, food chain, producer (3-12)

FOOD CHAIN ENERGY- consumer, flow of energy, food, food chain, food web, producer (6-12)

ECOSYSTEM CYCLES- cycling of matter, ecosystem, flow of energy (6-12)

NO MORE PLANTS- consumer, ecosystem, food chain, food web, interdependence, producer (K-8)

CHANGING ENVIRONMENT-animals, interdependence, natural selection (3-12)

EGGS- egg, life cycle, sexual reproduction (3-8)

CHRYSALIS- chrysalis, life cycle, living, pupa (K-5)

DNA, GENES, AND CHROMOSOMES- chromosome, DNA, genes (6-12)

EYE COLOR- genes, traits (9-12)

HUMAN BODY- cells, human body (3-8)

HUMAN EXCRETORY SYSTEM- digestive system, excretion, excretory system, metabolic waste, secretion (6-12)

ANTIBIOTICS- antibiotics, infectious disease, virus (6-12)


This book can be ordered through NSTA Press, or other online book sellers.

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