The following description is from the NSTA website:
Before your students can discover accurate science, you need to uncover the preconceptions they already have. This book helps pinpoint what your students know (or think they know) so you can monitor their learning and adjust your teaching accordingly. Loaded with classroom-friendly features you can use immediately, the book is comprised of 25 “probes”—brief, easily administered activities designed to determine your students’ thinking on 44 core science topics (grouped by light, sound, matter, gravity, heat and temperature, life science, and Earth and space science).
The probes are invaluable formative assessment tools to use before you begin teaching a topic or unit. The detailed teacher materials that accompany each probe review science content; give connections to National Science Education Standards and Benchmarks; present developmental considerations; summarize relevant research on learning; and suggest instructional approaches for elementary, middle, and high school students. Other books may discuss students’ general misconceptions about scientific ideas. Only this one provides probes—single, reproducible sheets— you can use to determine students’ thinking about, for example, photosynthesis, moon phases, conservation of matter, reflection, chemical change, and cells. Each probe has been field-tested with hundreds of students across multiple grade levels, so they’re proven effective for helping your students reexamine and further develop their understanding of science concepts.