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Misconceptions In Science

Discussion in 'Science' started by Apple101, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. stargirl577

    stargirl577 New commenter

    @blazer That's scary! I hope the teacher was able to educate the observer.
  2. stargirl577

    stargirl577 New commenter

    Regarding the sun misconception, there is a band called They Might Be Giants that writes & sings some science songs. Maybe you've heard of them. They wrote a song about the sun being a mass of incandescent gas. Really catchy. Any way, due to people explaining to them the sun is plasma, they wrote a new song explaining that the sun is plasma not gas and how they were initially wrong. They're both fun songs. Could be a great learning tool to use.
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    In a two-mark question, if you say (correctly) that A is bigger than B and earn a mark, you'll earn another for saying that B is smaller than A.
  4. sl1605

    sl1605 New commenter

    A few off the top of my head:

    Plants get their matter from the soil
    A solution weighs less than the sum of the solute and solvent.
    Things sink because they are heavier than water
    Weight affects the speed things fall
    Intermolecular forces affect the melting point of ionic, metallic or large covalent substances (in face, intermolecular forces pop up everywhere, probably when students want to sound clever).
  5. Lagoondry

    Lagoondry New commenter

  6. Apple101

    Apple101 Occasional commenter

    cellerdore likes this.
  7. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    Whilst there are very good genuine misconceptions noted here which are not helpful to science education, the problem I find with this string is that science is genuinely "a process of diminishing lies". We can only work within the experience and beliefs of the child. You can not come in, bang, with a full, to our most recent knowledge and thinking, of the model of an atom. You have to describe it in terms the child can take in.

    Many of these so called misconceptions are really stepping stones to a fuller understanding of a scientific concept.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  8. Rhysboy

    Rhysboy New commenter

    Fossil fuels are made from dinosaurs remains.
    LCR1970 likes this.
  9. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    During a STEM workshop I gave I asked a YR5 class to name any elements they knew. The responses were lava, rock and magma. Just goes to show the weird way science is delivered in primary. I also showed a picture and mentioned how much I liked chocolate labradors and was told emphatically I was silly - 'its a DOG' !!. Some days one just cannot win.
  10. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Particles themselves do not become less dense. Those particles with the greatest thermal/kinetic energy on average have greater separation between particles. This makes that region less dense than the surrounding cool region and so the region floats up.
  11. Apple101

    Apple101 Occasional commenter

    Yes and no. I sort of agree but then I don't. You raise a good point in that you must simplify to explain and that can involve a loss of accuracy.

    I think on the whole lots of teachers just say things because its what they were taught but often this can be wrong.

    The model of the atom is a good one. I don't think its such a stretch for people to understand that electrons have a region where they reside rather than just orbiting.

    Im always careful to point out where mistakes can be made and where what the textbook is saying is not strictly true.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Tectonic plates "rub together".
    They are pushed in different directions and often move at irregular intervals.
    Rubbing implies a constant back and forth movement.
  13. Apple101

    Apple101 Occasional commenter

    Along these lines is that students think the crust is this massively deep thing when it can be only a few miles deep in places. Most also think we have dug down and seen the core instead of using non invasive methods of discovery.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I have had more than a few kids who beleive that the Earth is hollow and we are walking around on the inside surface!
  15. Apple101

    Apple101 Occasional commenter

    Haha! How and why did they think that! Madness
  16. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    In primary school, my son was taught "there are no Newtons on the moon", ticked, and commented "excellent well done, you really understand this". I complained, I offered to advise the teacher by email on a weekly basis. My complaint went as far as the governors, who agreed "there are no Newtons on the moon", and dismissed my complaint.
  17. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    Someone must have told them, or they came to that conclusion because of the lack of gravity on the moon ( but it is not zero ). Even if gravity was zero everything has energy.
  18. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    Understandably primary science states that only iron and a few other materials are attracted to magnets, yet it is possible with a big enough magnetic field to levitate a hazelnut.
  19. Apple101

    Apple101 Occasional commenter

    There is no gravity on the moon is an awfully common one that I have come across so many times. The other one that astronauts in the space station are weightless. In the human sense they are but its more due to the lack of normal contact force so they can't experience their weight than actually being weightless.
  20. dleaf12

    dleaf12 Lead commenter

    Oh if I had a pound for every time I have fought that fight...
    ...also getting pupils to realise that the "particles" we speak of in physics are none other than the atoms or molecules of gas or liquid that they happily discuss in Chemistry....

    there is no such thing as a "heat particle" that travels through a substance.

    "Heat" doesn't rise. (hot fluids do).

    Another concept pupils seem to struggle with is the idea of a vacuum as a region with no(few) particles in it.

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