Biological Concepts Instrument (BCI): A diagnostic tool for revealing student thinking

This may be of great interest to Teachers of advanced pre University Biology courses e.g AP, IB, UK A LEVEL, Irish senior etc

Some recent research done in Switzerland was led by Elsbeth Stern and Ernst Hafen of ETH

They used the Biological Concepts Instrument (BCI): A diagnostic tool for revealing student thinking
Michael W. Klymkowsky*☀, Sonia M. Underwood** & R. Kathleen Garvin-Doxas***

and this showed many areas where student conceptual understanding needs improvement and interesting sources of misconceptions.

I have extracted the 28 Multiple Choice Questions of this Instrument into this Google form also they are available as plain text

You could use these great questions and data to elicit student misconceptions and then socially construct understanding through discussion.This could be a crucial step inhelping you student to prepare for their coming end of course examinations.

Also if you are interested in sharing your student responses anonymously by using the google form. The form has 28 MCQ that take about 45 minutes. Yous as a teacher would be the only one who knows your student responses by giving them a code letter and number e.g D13 If you use D to identify your school. This data will ONLY help Teachers see patterns of important misconceptions in our subject. IN NO WAY WILL IT BE USED FOR RESEARCH OR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. If you are interested get in touch or just use the questions for your own needs JUST credit the AUTHORS AS THE FORM DOES.

New published peer reviewed research on Effects of Cognitive Acceleration

It was wonderful working with my fellow Authors Sarah Seleznyov, Stuart Twiss, Jeremy Hodgen and Mundher Adhami on this piece of research.

Cognitive Acceleration in Mathematics Education: further evidence of impact

If you are really serious about raising the standards of thinking and achievement in your school please get in touch.

Article link    Full text available


Do you want to play in The Game of Justice?

Climate change, Covid pandemic, Racial reckonings, Economic, Legal and other crises have brought discussions about Justice to the forefront of our public discourse.

Do you want to be one of three contestants to get involved and appear in one of the monthly episodes? Each episode will involve discussing the principles for some aspect of Justice. Each contestant will have brought 2 of their most important principles and 1 principle they strongly disagree with. The Game of Justice will be an hour or so via zoom and with permission of all involved published on youtube.

If you are interested and want to know more message or mail me.

Also for Theory of Knowledge teachers the unit lessons for Socially Constructing a concept of Justice help yourself to



End of decade thanks to Guest blogger and others

During the last four years of the now ending decade, Jaeann Tschiffely has added guest blogs. Many of them are about how her experiences of Let’s Think English and Maths training and application have enriched her teaching life. Thanks Jaeann you have inspried and challenged my thinking in many ways. Also, thanks to Michael Walsh @mikefnw75 and Sarah Seleznyov @sarahseleznyov who she still says are inspirations in her development.

Sarah blogs at

Michael blogs at

The Thinking Teacher Teaches Thinking

Every Lesson is a Vocabulary Lesson

Beyond the Engaging Conversation; Getting Kids to Think

PYP Exhibition and Symbolic Reasoning

“Can I draw?” Read Aloud and Dual Coding to Build Comprehension

Concept maps for IB Biology

Concept maps are a very useful tool for retrieval practice, metacognition and developing deeper connections and elaborate understanding in a subject domain.

A great set of tools can be found at

The software is free, works on many different systems, and can be stored in the cloud so they can be edited and embedded in web pages and exported in many different formats. Concept maps can be linked together to give many levels of detail.