understanding in students requires taking time to attend to the ideas they
already have, both ideas that are incorrect and ideas that can
serve as a foundation for subsequent learning (Eaton, Anderson, & Smith, 1984; Minstrell, 1984;
McDermott, 1991; Osborne & Freyberg, 1985; Roth, 1991). Such attention requires
that teachers be informed about prerequisite ideas/skills needed for understanding
a new idea as well as what their students' initial ideas arein particular,
the ideas that may interfere with learning the scientific ideas. Teachers can
help address students' ideas if they know what has been shown to be successful
(Smith & Anderson, 1983; Roth, 1984; Smith, Blakeslee, & Anderson, 1993).
Curriculum materials that alert teachers to their students' probable misconceptions,
suggest strategies for identifying and dealing with them, and incorporate appropriate
strategies to address students' ideas lead to better student understanding compared
with materials that do not (Eaton et al., 1984; Bishop & Anderson, 1990;
Lee, Eichinger, Anderson, Berkheimer, & Blakeslee, 1993; Songer & Linn,
1991; Brown & Clement, 1992).