little insights

I am always on the lookout for little insights into how students think, and this is an example of how students can perceive the answer on paper to be the end goal, rather than learning. We are working on Astronomy with my grade 9’s, and they were answering some questions. The first question was:

What is an Astronomical Unit? What is it in km?

They correctly put that it is the distance from the Earth to the sun, approximately 150,000,000 km. The third question was:

Space probes can travel at about 30,000 km/h. About how long would it take to fly directly from the Earth to the sun?

The response? “How are we supposed to know how far away the sun is?”

One advantage I am finding with flipping the classroom is that these things arise when I am around to help…

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