Carolina Biological OSE - July 2024


Forums / Evaluation and Assessment / Formative Assessment Probe: The Ocean

Evaluation and Assessment

Formative Assessment Probe: The Ocean

Author Post
Sherri Cavallaro Sherri Cavallaro 675 Points

In the article “Uncovering Student Ideas About Earth’s Defining Feature: The Ocean” I learned that many people have the same misconception that there are multiple oceans and seas. “Research by Feller (2007) revealed the common misconception, held by both children and adults that the oceans are not connected and act alone” (Keeley, 2022). This misconception probably was derived by how teachers taught students that “The seven seas are the Arctic, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, Indian, and Southern seas. The five oceans include the Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Southern oceans” (Holmes, 2022). Teaching these bodies of water by their specific names leads to believing that they represent individual bodies of water. Teachers today must teach their students that there is one global ocean (Holmes, 2022).

 “The formative assessment probe, ‘How Many Oceans and Seas?’ reveals whether students understand the concept of ‘one ocean’ and provides instructional suggestions to develop this important concept (Keeley and Tucker 2016)” (Keeley, 2022). The conception based probe complements what my students are currently learning which are the different locations of oceans and seas around the world.  I can incorporate the conception based probe into my lesson. My students are just learning about these bodies of water so it will be very interesting to hear their initial answers.  As we continue to learn more about the different bodies of water, I will circle back to the probe a second time and see if my students have changed their misconception.


Holmes, J. (2022, February 23). Bodies of Water: Ocean, Seas, & Gulfs.

Keeley, P. (2022). Uncovering Student Ideas About Earth’s Defining Feature: The Ocean.

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers