Energy

Forces

Horizontal motion

Sound

Light

Electricity

Magnetism

Heating

Gravity

The Earth in Space

'Misconception' (notes from Driver, 1994) Reference from Driver (1994)

Energy

top
Conceptualisations of energy
M1 Energy is a causal agent stored in some objects. Gilbert and Pope, 1982; Gayford, 1986
M2 Energy is only linked with force and motion. Stead, 1980
M3 Energy is a fuel. Solomon, 1983
M4 Energy is a fluid. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M5 Energy is an ingredient. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M6 Energy is a waste product. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
Energy and living things
M7 Energy is something that only living things have (like humans). Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M8 Energy is vital for life (vitalism). Solomon, 1983
M9 Energy is needed to move. Solomon, 1983
Energy stores
M10 The depository model: some objects have energy which is rechargeable, some need energy which they expend, and some are neutral. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M11 Energy is doing. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M12 Energy is force. Duit, 1981
M13 Energy is power.  Ault et al., 1988
M14 Forms of energy' is a definition of energy. Barbetta et al., 1984
M15 Potential energy' confused with the potential to have energy. Stead, 1980
Energy as a fuel
M16 Energy is electricity Duit, 1981
M17 Energy crisis' is the same as 'fuel crisis'. Stead, 1980
M18 Conservation of energy is unnecessary. Duit, 1981
M19 Fuel is energy [rather than fuel 'contains' or 'is a source of' energy]. Stead, 1980
M20 Energy is a general sort of fuel. Watts and Gilbert, 1985; Ault et al., 1988
M21 Energy is only associated with technical applications [rather than all processes]. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M22 Energy is only associated with processes with make life more comfortable. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
Energy as a fluid, ingredient or product
M23 Energy is a fluid. Watts and Gilbert, 1985; Duit, 1981; Gayford, 1986
M24 Energy is an ingredient [lying dormant inside objects until something triggers it]. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M25 Energy is a waste product [it is not conserved, it is a relatively short lived product, it is generated, it is then active, it then disappears or fades away]. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M26 Energy is a physical substance. Stead, 1980
M27 Energy is linked with strength. Duit, 1984
Conservation of energy
M28 Conservation of energy is unnecessary. Duit, 1984
M29 [Predictions of the height a ball will go to on a U shaped track are sometimes correct, but very rarely use energy conservation to make this prediction, even after instruction.] Duit, 1984

Forces

Describing forces
M30 [No research on pupils ideas about transmission of forces.] Driver, 1994, p. 148
M31 [Dispute about how consistent pupils are to particular frameworks] Driver, 1994, p. 148
M32 Force is anger. Osborne, 1980 and 1985
M33 Force is a feeling. Osborne, 1980 and 1985
M34 Forces get things going [but the idea that forces can slow things is missed]. Osborne, 1980 and 1985
M35 Force means to coerce.  Watts, 1983; Osborne, Schollum and Hill, 1981; Shevlin, 1989
M36 Force means to resist. Watts, 1983; Osborne, Schollum and Hill, 1981; Shevlin, 1989
M37 Forces are associated with living things [not with non-living things]. Gunstone and Watts, 1985; Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M38 Only inanimate objects which can cause another object to move have forces associated with them (e.g. a spring). Watts, 1983
M39 An inanimate object which exerts a force is 'trying to' bring about a change. Gunstone and Watts, 1985
M40 Force is only associated with movement [c.f. 'passive' forces like those on an object in equilibrium]. Watts, 1983; Osborne, Schollum and Hill, 1981; Gunstone and Watts, 1985; Driver, 1984
M41 Moving objects contain a force which keeps the object moving. Moving objects stop when the force runs out [c.f. fuel]. Sjobert and Lie, 1981; Viennot, 1979; Watts and Zylbersztajn, 1981; Clement, 1982; McCloskey, 1983; Fischbein Stavey and Ma-Maim, 1988
M42 If there is motion, there is a force acting. Driver, 1994, p. 148
M43 If there is no motion, there is no force acting. Driver, 1994, p. 148
M44 There cannot be a force without motion. Driver, 1994, p. 148
M45 If there is motion, there is a force acting in the same direction as the object is moving in. Driver, 1994, p. 148
M46 Motion is proportional to the force acting. Driver, 1994, p. 148
M47 A constant speed results from a constant force. Driver, 1994, p. 148
M48 Force is a property of an object [as opposed to an interaction between two objects - introduce a qualitative intuitive understanding of momentum as a property?]. Brown and Clement, 1987 and 1989; Maloney, 1985; Minstrell and Stimpson, 1986; Watts, 1983.
M49 An object's force depends on the object's weight/motion/activity/strength. Minstrell and Stimpson, 1986
M50 A kick is not a push. Shevlin, 1989
M51 A throw is not a push. Shevlin, 1989
M52 Forces which pull are different from forces which just hold. Erickson and Hobbs, 1978
M53 [Arrows used ineffectively to represent force point of action] Terry et al., 1985
M54 [Arrows used ineffectively to represent force direction] Terry et al., 1985
Forces in pairs
M55 Force is a single entity [and a property of a single object]. Erickson and Hobbs, 1978
M56 A book does not fall when on a table because the table is in the way. Minstrell, 1982
M57 The downward force on a book on a table is bigger than the upward force, otherwise the book would float away. Clement, 1982
M58 Friction is the reaction force. Stead and Osborne, 1981
M59 Pulling and holding are different.  Erickson and Hobbs, 1978
M60 If cars collide, the moving car exerts the [bigger] force. Brown and Clement, 1987
M61 If cars collide, the faster car exerts the bigger force. Brown and Clement, 1987
M62 Reaction [as in 'action and reaction'] means a sequence of events where one force leads to another. Terry et al., 1985
M63 Opposite [as in 'equal and opposite'] means the reaction force acts on the same object [rather than two forces involved in an interaction between two objects]. Terry et al., 1985
Forces acting together - nett force and equilibrium
M64 Equilibrium means several forces struggle together and the strongest wins. Erickson and Hobbs, 1978; Osborne, 1980
M65 Equilibrium means the resolution of several forces struggling together. After the struggle all forces stop. Erickson and Hobbs, 1978
M66 If a system in equilibrium is moved, it will not stay in the new position. Erickson and Hobbs, 1978
Pressure
M67 Only wind exerts pressure [not still air]. Séré, 1982
M68 Pressure does not act in all directions in air/water. Engel, Clough and Driver, 1985
M69 Pressure acts in all directions, but the pressure downwards is greater that the pressure in other directions. Engel, Clough and Driver, 1985
M70 A vacuum sucks [e.g. when someone sucks on a straw this creates a partial vacuum which 'sucks' up the liquid]. Engel, Clough and Driver, 1985
M71 Air sucks. Engel, Clough and Driver, 1985
M72 [Balanced pressures are not considered]. Engel, Clough and Driver, 1985
M73 The air pressure outside a football is the same/more than the air pressure inside the football. Séré, 1982
M74 Only moving air exerts pressure, and the pressure is in the direction of travel of the air.  Séré, 1982
Turning forces
M75 [Most children appear to have an intuitive understanding of moments - e.g. how to balance a see-saw]. Inhelder and Piaget, 1958

Horizontal Motion

Describing motion
M76 If an object is pushed with a constant force, this produces constant motion ['gut dynamics']. Claxton, 1984
M77 If a pushing force stops, there is a 'force' in the moving object which keeps it going and which is gradually used up (at which point the object stops) ['gut dynamics'].  Claxton, 1984
M78 [Personal explanations and rules about how objects move which differ from Newtonian mechanics are called 'lay dynamics']. Osborne, 1984
M79 ['Gut' and 'lay' dynamics are relabelled rather than rejected]. Jira and McCloskey, 1980
M80 [Inconsistent theories are acceptable]. Driver, 1994, p.155
M81 Objects are either at rest, or in motion [accelerating and decelerating objects are not considered]. Driver, 1994, p.155
M82 Going faster' means the magnitude of the speed [and at other times 'the speed increasing with time']. Driver, 1994, p.155
M83 An object gets to a certain velocity [without considering this velocity as changing over a period of time]. Jung, 1981
M84 An object is set into motion [without considering this velocity as changing over a period of time]. Jung, 1981
M85 If speed is increasing, acceleration is increasing. Jones, 1983
M86 [Training in 'proportional reasoning' (Piaget, 1979) leads to improved differentiation of speed, distance and time]. Boulanger, 1976
M87 ["Children need to develop the language tools to describe motion appropriately … prior to developing an understanding of dynamical principles."]. Driver, 1994, p.155
Stationary objects
M88 Rest' is not a special case of motion at a constant velocity [of zero]. Osborne, 1984
M89 Rest' and 'motion' are fundamentally different. Osborne, 1984
M90 Rest is a natural state where no forces are acting on an object. Minstrell, 1982; Sjoberg and Lie, 1981
M91 An object at rest experiences a 'holding' force, but this force is different from a pulling or pushing force. Erickson and Hobbs, 1978
M92 A book on a table remains stationary because of air pressure Minstrell, 1982
M93 A book on a table remains stationary because of gravity [and only gravity]. Minstrell, 1982
M94 A book on a table remains stationary because the table is in the way. Minstrell, 1982
M95 A book on a ground remains stationary because objects in contact with the ground no longer experience gravity. Minstrell, 1982
M96 A book on a table remains stationary because the force of gravity is greater than the contact force from the table. Minstrell, 1982
M97 When representing motion graphically time does not pass for stationary objects. Bliss, Morrison and Ogborn, 1988
Forces [associated with motion - see also chapter 21]
M98 [Few pupils have the idea that a force can cause a change in motion]. Osborne, 1980 and 1985
M99 Forces get things going but don't slow things down. Osborne, 1980 and 1985
M100 Moving objects have something called 'force' inside them. McCloskey, 1983; Sjoberg and Lie, 1981; Viennot, 1980; Watts and Zylbersztajn, 1981; Clement, 1982
M101 Force and momentum are the same thing.  Driver, 1994, p.156
M102 Force is a kind of fuel.  Fischbein, Stavy and Ma-Naim, 1988
M103 Force is 'above' time [as in not related to time - so the concept of impulse is hard as a consequence]. Jung, 1981
Forces causing changes in motion: speeding up and slowing down
M104 [The Newtonian idea that motion at a constant speed, in a straight line, does not require the application of a force, is not accepted by many children]. Lythott, 1983
M105 Some moving objects are 'active' [like balls and gliders], whereas other moving objects are passive [so a force needs to be applied to keep them moving, like cars and planes].
M106 Passive objects do not contain a forces, so they will fall straight down when they go over a cliff. McCloskey, 1983; Jira and McCloskey, 1980; Fischbein, Stavy and Ma-Naim, 1988
M107 Active objects contain a force, so they will continue to move forward when they go over a cliff.  McCloskey, 1983; Jira and McCloskey, 1980; Fischbein, Stavy and Ma-Naim, 1988
M108 A moving object will come to a stop eventually, even if there is no friction [e.g. moving on ice or out in space]. Driver, 1994, p. 157
M109 If there is motion, then a force is acting. Clement, 1982; Caramazza , McCloskey and Green, 1981; Watts, 1983; Bliss, Obgorn and whitelock, 1989
M110 There cannot be a force without motion. If there is no motion then there is no force acting. Champagne, Klopfer and Anderson, 1980
M111 When an object is moving there is a force in the direction of motion. [Cf. Buridan in 14th Century] Osborne, 1980 and 1985; see Driver, 1994, p. 157 for more references
M112 A moving object has a force within it which keeps it going. McCloskey, 1983; Sjobert and Lie, 1981; Viennot, 1980; Watts and Zylbersztajn, 1981; Clement, 1982; Bliss Morrison and Ogborn, 1988; Caramazza, McCloskey and Green, 1981; Eckstein and Shemesh, 1989
M113 A moving object stops when its force is used up. Sjoberg and Lie, 1981; Lie, Sjoberg, Ekeland and Enge, 1984; Langford and Zollman, 1982
M114 Motion is proportional to the force acting. A constant speed results from a constant force. Champagne, Klopfer and Anderson, 1980; Hewson, 1985; see Driver, 1994, p. 158 for more references
M115 Force is associated with speed [not with acceleration]. Osborne, 1984; Viennot, 1980
M116 [Synthetic concepts of force 'misconceptions' have been identified in the literature] Driver, 1994, p. 158; Eckstein and Shemesh, 1989
Friction
M117 Friction is the same thing as reaction [force]. Stead and Osborne, 1981
M118 Friction depends upon movement. Stead and Osborne, 1981
M119 Friction only occurs between solids. Stead and Osborne, 1981
M120 Friction occurs with solids and liquids, but not with gases. Stead and Osborne, 1981
M121 Friction causes electricity. Stead and Osborne, 1981
M122 Friction is an object [so it can do things]. Stead and Osborne, 1981
M123 Friction tries to do things. Stead and Osborne, 1981
M124 Friction is not a force [particularly among those who do not think forces stop things].  Stead and Osborne, 1981
M125 Friction is directionless. Stead and Osborne, 1981
Pedagogy and horizontal motion
M126 Physicists' ideas about motion are nonsense.  McDermott, 1983
M127 A unified theory of motion is not necessary. Driver, 1994, p. 159
M128 [Difficulties with understanding motion do not necessarily imply poor teaching]. Driver, 1994, p. 159
M129 [Bridging analogies can be helpful for pupils. For example intermeshed hairbrushes for friction]. Brown and Clement, 1989; Clement, Brown and Zietsmann, 1989; Clement, 1988; Minstrell and Stimpson, 1986
M130 [Some bridge analogies are not reliable. For example two skaters pushing each other for N3L.] Driver, 1994, p. 160; Clement, Brown and Zietsmann, 1989
M131 [Pupils have well established ideas about motion by about the age of 9. After this it is hard to change these ideas.] Eckstein and Shemesh, 1989
M132 [It may be helpful to introduce the idea of 'momentum' as a qualitative concept earlier]. Osborne, 1980 and 1984; Champagne, Klopfer and Anderson, 1980; Schollum, Hill and Osborne, 1981; diSessa, 1982
M133 [It may be helpful to introduce the relations between distance, time and speed earlier]. diSessa, 1982; Hewson, 1982; diSessa, 1989; Saltiel and Malgrange, 1980
M134 [It may be helpful to highlight the time over which a force acts]. Driver, 1994, p. 161
M135 [It may be helpful for pupils to have experience of frictionless virtual environments]. diSessa, 1989
M136 [It may be helpful for pupils to have the opportunity to develop their own 'gut' dynamics]. diSessa, 1982; Clement, 1982 and 1983; Osborne, 1985; 
M137 [It may be helpful to introduce historical ideas about motion]. Gilbert and Zylbersztajn, 1985

Sound

Sound production
M138 Sound is made because the material making the sound is plastic/rubber. Watt and Russell 1990 and Asoko et al. 1991
M139 Sound is made because the material making the sound is thick/thin/taut/hard. Watt and Russell 1990 and Asoko et al. 1991
M140 Sound is part of an instrument released by a person. Asoko et al. 1991
M141 No mechanism for sound production is suggested. Watt and Russell 1990
M142 The sound from a drum is made inside the drum. Watt and Russell 1990
M143 The sound from a drum is made from both inside the drum and the surface of the drum. Watt and Russell 1990
M144 The mechanism for sound generation is context specific (e.g. a rubber band does not make sound like a drum). Watt and Russell 1990
M145 A force from a person makes sound (without any explanation of something vibrating). Watt and Russell 1990
M146 The sound is made by vibrations only in instruments where vibrations can be seen (guitar string, cymbal - not hooter or stones clashing). Asoko et al. 1991
M147 The instrument vibrates, but this vibration is not transferred to the air. Asoko et al. 1991
M148 Stones make sound when clashed because of some property of the stone. Asoko et al. 1991
M149 There is no general theory of sound production. Asoko et al. 1991
M150 Covering an object which is making sound is not explained. Asoko et al. 1991
Sound transmission
M151 Sound 'goes' is misinterpreted. Asoko et al. 1991
M152 Sound travelling is not thought of at all (e.g. sound 'goes' can be easily misinterpreted). Watt and Russell 1990 and Asoko et al. 1991
M153 Sound needs an unobstructed path to travel at all (cf. walking through a crowd, rain stopped by an umbrella or a stream stopped by a dam). Watt and Russell 1990
M154 Sound is an invisible object with dimensions, which needs room to move. Watt and Russell 1990
M155 Air is not needed for sound to move (cf. children's ideas about air as an empty space). Watt and Russell 1990
M156 A clock ticking sound is made by the mechanism. Asoko et al. 1991
M157 A clock ticking sound is made by the person listening. Asoko et al. 1991
M158 Sound is carried by individual molecules through air. Linder and Erickson 1989
M159 Sound moves from on molecule to another molecule through air. Linder and Erickson 1989
M160 Sound travels usually in the form of flowing air. Linder and Erickson 1989
M161 Sound is a travelling pattern. Linder and Erickson 1989
Hearing (from Driver, p. 45)
M162 The ear is not associated with hearing. Watt and Russell 1990
M163 The ear drum/bones/nerve/brain is not mentioned when hearing is being explained. Watt and Russell 1990
M164 The need for sound to enter the ear is not mentioned when hearing is being explained. Watt and Russell 1990
M165 The most important factor in hearing is the listener concentrating on the source of the sound (the 'active ear'). Watt and Russell 1990
M166 I hear the clock ticking because it is ticking. [considered a sufficient explanation] Asoko, Leach and Scott 1992
M167 I hear the clock ticking I was listening. [considered a sufficient explanation] Asoko, Leach and Scott 1992
M168 The ear seeks the source of a sound [cf. active ear]. Boyes and Stanisstreet 1991
M169 A hearing ray goes from a radio to the ear and back. Boyes and Stanisstreet 1991
Sound meeting surfaces
M170 Sound absorption is not understood at all. Asoko et al. 1991
M171 If an object which makes sound is covered (causing a muffled sound), this is because the sound is trapped. Asoko et al. 1991
M172 If an object which makes sound is covered (causing a muffled sound), this is because the sound comes through more slowly. Asoko et al. 1991
M173 If an object which makes sound is covered (causing a muffled sound), this is because of the material the cover is made from. Asoko et al. 1991
M174 If an object which makes sound is covered (causing a muffled sound) can still be heard, this is because of leakage. Asoko et al. 1991
M175 Sound absorption is not explained using vibrations. Asoko et al. 1991
M176 Explanations of where a muffled sound has gone are different to those of how the sound gets out from under a cover. Asoko et al. 1991
Characteristics of sound
M177 [No research into misconceptions about pitch, loudness or quality of sound]
M178 Bigger vibrations are slower than small vibrations (so pitch and volume are difficult to understand). Driver 1994
Representing sound
M179 Sound is not represented with diagrams. Watt and Russell 1990
M180 Sound is represented diagrammatically as a single thing that travels from a source to a receiver. Watt and Russell 1990
M181 Sound is represented diagrammatically as a continuous line that travels from a source to a receiver. Watt and Russell 1990
M182 Sound is represented diagrammatically as a line parallel to the direction the sound travels in. Watt and Russell 1990
M183 Sound travels only to the intended listener (it does not spread out). Watt and Russell 1990
M184 Sound can be represented (in science) using words, arrows, shading or musical notes. Watt and Russell 1990
M185 Vibrate means 'repeat'. Watt and Russell 1990
M186 Echo means 'repeat'. Watt and Russell 1990

Light

 
The nature and representation of light  
M187 Students often have vague ideas about what light is and are not always given clear definitions Watts (1984)
M188 Light is a source (e.g. a light bulb) (common for ages 10 - 11) Guesne (1985) and Andersson and Karrqvist (1981)
M189 Light is an effect (e.g. a patch of light) (common for ages 10 - 11) Guesne (1985)
M190 Light is a state (e.g. brightness) (common for ages 10 - 11) Guesne (1985)
M191 Light is not recognised as a physical entity between a source and the effect it produces (age < 13) Guesne (1985)
M192 Light rays are not considered to be the same as 'ordinary light' Ramadas and Driver (1989)
M193 Light rays are associated with science fiction rather than fact Ramadas and Driver (1989)
M194 The invisible path of a light ray causes problems in understanding  Ramadas and Driver (1989)
M195 Darkness considered as important a concept as light Ramadas and Driver (1989)
M196 Darkness shaded in on white paper instead of the light Ramadas and Driver (1989)
M197 Many examples of light sources known (by age 7), but predominately primary sources rather than secondary sources Osborne et al. (1990)
M198 Children's knowledge of light sources does not seem to develop with age Osborne et al. (1990)
M199 Light around sources shown with short lines Osborne et al. (1990)
M200 Use of lines from source to object rare Osborne et al. (1990)
M201 Everyday conception of light is psychological (e.g. 'the light is bad' or 'it is light') Andersson and Karrqvist (1981)
M202 Direct light is distinguished from normal 'daylight' (scale from very bright to dark) Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M203 Shadows only occur in bright light Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M204 Light has parts of bits Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M205 Light is separate from seeing (e.g. light needed to so room is lit up, but not to go into the eyes) Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M206 Light is intentionally designed to allow us to see Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M207 Different kinds of light in different circumstances give different effects  Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M208 Light is only a property of large conspicuous luminous objects Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M209 Light is projected from a source Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M210 Light transports colours Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M211 Students often have no mechanism about how a lamp lit up a room Anderson and Smith (1983)
Light transmission  
M212 Even when students have an understanding of light as an entity they don't always think of it as travelling Guesne (1985)
M213 Light goes from A to B like a wire stretching from A to B La Rosa et al. (1984)
M214 Light has strands like in a rope Watts (1984)
M215 Light has different modes (e.g. natural or electric) Watts (1984)
M216 Light does not travel far from a source (particularly in daytime) Stead and Osborne (1980)
M217 Light travels further at night than in the day (common ages 13 - 15) Stead and Osborne (1980)
M218 Light does not travel at all in the day Stead and Osborne (1980)
M219 Light does not travel at all at night Stead and Osborne (1980)
M220 A shadow is something that light allows us to see Feher and Rice (1985)
M221 Shadows exist on their own, hiding inside objects, until light pushes it away from the object on to the wall or ground Feher and Rice (1985)
M222 Students expect the shape of a shadow to be the same shape as the object Feher and Rice (1985)
M223 Shadows are a reflection (or a 'dark reflection) of an object Feher and Rice (1985)
M224 Most students (age > 13) correctly interpret where their own shadow will fall if the sun is in front or behind them Tiberghien et al. (1980)
M225 Many students find anticipating where the shadow of a tree will fall harder than guessing where their own shadow falls Tiberghien et al. (1980)
M226 Students usually do not offer explanations involving the straight path of light Tiberghien et al. (1980)
Vision (from Driver 1994, p. 41)  
M227 There is no connection between an eye and an object. Piaget 1974
M228 Vision is a passage from the eye to an object. Guesne 1985
M229 In luminous objects light comes to the eye, but in non-luminous objects light goes from the eye to the object. Guesne 1985
M230 Light helps us see better [as a sufficient explanation for vision]. Andersson and Karrqvist (1981)
M231 Something goes back and forth between a source of light and the eye. Andersson and Karrqvist (1981)
M232 An image enters the eye when we see something. Andersson and Karrqvist (1981)
M233 Contrast with dark helps us to see. Andersson and Karrqvist (1981)
M234 Sight goes further when the light is on. Andersson and Karrqvist (1981)
M235 No explanation of vision is given. Andersson and Karrqvist (1981) and Osborne et al. 1990
M236 It is possible for [all/some] people to see in pitch darkness [an idea more prevalent among city dwellers than the country]. Ramadas and Driver (1989) and Fetherstonhaugh and Treagust  
M237 It is possible for cats to see in pitch darkness. Fetherstonhaugh and Treagust 1990
M238 The eye sees objects [with light coming from the eye, and without the need for a light source]. Osborne et al. (1990)
M239 The eye sees objects when there is a light source [with light coming from the eye, and light from the source going into the eye]. Osborne et al. (1990)
M240 The eye sees objects when there is a light source [with light coming from the eye, and light from the source going into the object]. Osborne et al. (1990)
M241 How an object like a mirror is understood, but not how an object like a book. Osborne et al. (1990)
M242 Light is needed to illuminate objects, but it stays near the object. Watts 1985
M243 The explanation of how objects are visible in daylight is different to how they are visible under a lamp. Anderson and Smith (1983)
M244 Light travels from a source to both object and the eye [without linking the object and eye]. Boyes and Stanisstreet 1991
M245 Light helps, but is not necessary for vision. Boyes and Stanisstreet 1991
M246 When viewing a luminous object like a TV, the light comes from the eye. Boyes and Stanisstreet 1991
M247 [There is no research evidence linking vision with brain activity]. Driver, 1994, p. 45
Light meeting surfaces  
M248 Light stays on a mirror during reflection (common ages 13 - 15) Fetherstonhaugh and Treagust (1990)
M249 Images can be in two places Fetherstonhaugh and Treagust (1990)
M250 Lenses are not necessary to form images Fetherstonhaugh and Treagust (1990)
M251 Lens needs to be whole to form an image Fetherstonhaugh and Treagust (1990)
M252 Light bounces off mirrors, but not off other objects Anderson and Smith (1983)
M253 Light doesn't bounce off anything (including mirrors) Anderson and Smith (1983)
M254 Light bounces off things, but does not scatter Anderson and Smith (1983)
M255 Light bounces off things, but this has no relevance to seeing Anderson and Smith (1983)
M256 The image in a mirror is on the mirror (rather than behind it) Goldberg and McDermott (1986)
M257 Moving the observers position will move the image Goldberg and McDermott (1986)
M258 Moving back from a mirror will allow you to see more of yourself Goldberg and McDermott (1986)
M259 A pencil in a beaker of water looks bent because the water makes it look broken Shapiro (1989)
M260 A pencil in a beaker of water looks bent because the shape of the beaker makes it look broken Shapiro (1989)
M261 A pencil in a beaker of water looks bigger because of the combination of water and beaker Shapiro (1989)
Colour  
M262 Few students (age 13) understand coloured filters Zylbersztajn and Watts (1982)
M263 A red filter changes the white light in some way Zylbersztajn and Watts (1982)
M264 A red filter dyes the white light Zylbersztajn and Watts (1982)
M265 White light 'knocks-on' the colour of the filter Zylbersztajn and Watts (1982)
M266 White light is not a mixture of colours of light Anderson and Smith (1983)
M267 Students who do think white light is a mixture of colours of light usually don't know what colours are involved Anderson and Smith (1983)
M268 Colour is an innate property of an object (eyes help us see this colour) Anderson and Smith (1983)
M269 Light helps our eyes to see objects Anderson and Smith (1983)

Electricity

 
Making a complete closed circuit
M270 A cell is something to do with biology, and has nothing to do with a battery. [This summary will use the word 'battery' for a single cell at KS3, and will correct this later]. -
M271 [Given a bulb which is not in any holder, wires and a 'battery' see Driver, 1994, p. 118 for common attempts to light the bulb] Shipstone, 1985
M272 A single wire between a bulb and one end of a battery will light the bulb. Shipstone, 1985
M273 If the bulb is placed on the positive end of the battery, and a wire goes from the positive to the negative end [i.e. a short-circuit], then the bulb will light. Shipstone, 1985
M274 If a wire goes from the positive end of the battery to the bulb, and then from the same part of the bulb to the negative end of the battery, the bulb will light. Shipstone, 1985
Pupils' ideas about a simple circuit
M275 A bulb will light if one wire is connected from the bulb to one end of the battery [cell - the unipolar model].  Osborne and Freyberg, 1985; see Driver, 1994, p. 119 for more studies which confirm these findings.
M276 In a complete circuit electricity comes out from both ends of the battery [the clashing currents model - light is made by the 'clash']. Osborne and Freyberg, 1985; see Driver, 1994, p. 119 for more studies which confirm these findings.
M277 In a complete circuit electricity more current comes out from one end of the battery and less goes back into the other end of the battery [the current consumed model]. Osborne and Freyberg, 1985; see Driver, 1994, p. 119 for more studies which confirm these findings.
M278 In a complete circuit only one wire is active. The other wire is a safety wire. Osborne and Freyberg, 1985; see Driver, 1994, p. 119 for more studies which confirm these findings.
M279 Current is used up by bulbs.
M280 [Using two ammeters (or more) in a series circuit may help pupils]. Osborne and Freyberg, 1985
M281 [Using a heart and blood circulation model may help pupils (but note pupils misconceptions about circulation)]. Osborne and Freyberg, 1985
M282 [Some pupils will 'remember incorrectly' ammeter readings to support the current consumed model]. Gauld, 1985
M283 Equal ammeter readings either side of a bulb in a circuit do not mean that current is conserved. Dupin and Johsua, 1984
M284 [Pupils who understood current conservation after a lesson, did not still hold this idea one year later]. Osborne, 1983
M285 ['Cognitive conflict' is good, but not enough. Pupils also need a new model which has advantages over the one they hold.] Closset, 1983 and 1984
M286 [Teaching pupils what a model is, and that all models have limitations, can help]. Closset, 1983 and 1984
Battery
M287 A battery is a [unipolar] giver of electricity. Psillos, Koumaras and Tiberghein, 1988
M288 A battery is a store of electricity. Psillos, Koumaras and Tiberghein, 1988
M289 A battery is a store of energy [with energy understood as a 'thing']. Psillos, Koumaras and Tiberghein, 1988
M290 A battery delivers a constant current in a closed circuit [rather than maintaining a constant voltage]. Cohen, Eylon and Ganiel, 1983
M291 [Voltage and potential difference are often not understood at all by pupils]. Maichle, 1981
Current and voltage
M292 Current, electricity and electrical energy are synonymous. Osborne and Freyberg, 1985
M293 Voltage is the strength of current. von Rhoneck, 1981
M294 Voltage is the force of current. von Rhoneck, 1981
M295 Voltage is a property of current [rather than a precondition for current to flow - often current is introduced to pupils first]. von Rhoneck, 1981
M296 Voltage is current [c.f. as voltage increases, current increases]. Maichle, 1981
M297 If no current flows, there cannot be a voltage. von Rhoneck, 1981
M298 [Some researchers advise avoiding teaching about potential difference or electromotive force, and only talking about voltage.] Psillos, Koumaras and Tiberghein, 1988
M299 [Some researchers advise avoiding measuring the voltage distribution in a circuit, as this may lead to the idea that voltage is 'consumed'.] Psillos, Koumaras and Tiberghein, 1988
Current
M300 Current is a series of happenings as electricity leaves the battery, travels through components and returns to the battery [the 'sequential view']. Shipstone, 1985
M301 [Some researchers advise introducing energy at the same time as current, to avoid the sequential view]. Shipstone, 1984; Tiberghein, 1983; Cohen, 1984; Arnold and Millar, 1988; Duit, 1984
M302 [Pupils sometimes do not consider the circuit as a complete system, where a change in one place can affect the whole circuit, and not just the parts 'downstream']. Tiberghein, 1983; Closset, 1983; Duit, 1984
M303 "A sequential model allows the idea of electricity standing, but not flowing, in unconnected wires and it does not account for the instantaneous lighting of a bulb when the circuit is completed."  Driver, 1994, p. 123
Working with series and parallel circuits
M304 [Some researchers advise treating series and parallel circuits separately and at different times, before going on to treat them in conjunction.] van Aalst, 1984
M305 [Some researchers advise separating sessions on electricity work with something else to allow ideas to become established before they have to be related.] van Aalst, 1984
The use of analogies
M306 [Some researchers found that hydrodynamic, thermal and mechanical analogies can be useful to some extent.] Dupin and Johsua, 1984; Black and Solomon, 1987
M307 Rate of flow in a water circuit is velocity of the water. Schwedes, 1984
M308 Rate of flow in a water circuit is volume of the water. Schwedes, 1984
M309 The battery is analogous to the high point in a water circuit, with water running off both sides. Schwedes, 1984
M310 The water circuit is of no use in understanding electrical circuits. Russell, 1980
M311 [The water circuit is understood, but not used to explain electrical circuits.] Russell, 1980
M312 [The water circuit is understood, but used incorrectly to explain electrical circuits.] Russell, 1980
M313 [Some researchers advise against using heat and temperature analogies, as students have been found to have many 'misconceptions' about these fields.] Driver, 1994, p. 123
M314 [Some researchers advise against using blood circulation analogies, as students have been found to have many 'misconceptions' about this.] Driver, 1994, p. 123
M315 [Some researchers found that mechanical analogies like the bike chain, a transportation belt or workers pushing a train around a track can be useful to some extent.] Duplin and Johsua, 1984; Hartel, 1984
M316 [Some researchers advise using multiple analogies]. Tenney, 1984
M317 [Some researchers advise using the stiff bike chain analogy as it emphasises that all points influence all others, thereby challenging the sequential model]. Hartel, 1984
Representing circuits in drawings and diagrams
M318 [Pupils sometimes find it hard to associate a real circuit with a drawing]. Driver, 1994, p. 124
M319 [Pupils may retain an image, rather than the principles the image is intended to convey]. Caillot, 1984
M320 [Identical circuit diagrams which have been rotated are not considered by some pupils to be the same]. Duit, 1984
M321 Lines in a circuit diagram represent pipes. Johsua, 1984
M322 Resistances in a circuit are useful. Johsua, 1984
M323 [Non useful resistance are omitted from circuit diagrams]. Johsua, 1984
M324 Symmetrical circuit diagrams would 'work' in reality, non-symmetrical circuits would not. Niedderer, 1972
Establishing and differentiating critical concepts: developing an energy view
M325 Current', 'energy' and 'electricity' are interchangeable concepts, having the properties of movement, storability and consumption. Shipston, 1984; Psillos et al., 1988
M326 [As current flowing in a circuit is reasonably intuitive, when voltage is introduced this is seen as a property of the current]. Driver et al., 1994
M327 [Some researchers advise introducing voltage initially as a property of the battery, a precondition for current to flow and present even when no current is flowing]. Driver, 1994, p. 124 and Psillos et al., 1988
M328 Voltage is a force. von Rhoneck, 1981
M329 Current is energy. von Rhoneck, 1981
M330 Resistance is a 'hindrance' [as in a barrier to the flow of charge]. Driver, 1994, p. 125

Magnetism

 
Magnetism and gravity
M331 Gravity is caused by magnetism. Bar and Goldmuntz, 1987
M332 Magnetism is a type of gravity. Barrow, 1987
M333 Air is necessary for a magnet to have an effect [perhaps because it is believed that gravity is caused by air, or that air is necessary for gravity to act]. Barr and Zinn, 1989
How magnets work
M334 [Though many pupils are aware of magnetism, some offer no explanation of this phenomena]. Barrow, 1987
M335 Chemicals make magnets stick. Barrow, 1987
M336 Magnetism is caused by 'energies'. Barrow, 1987
M337 Magnetism is caused by electrons and protons. Barrow, 1987
M338 [Little awareness of magnetic poles]. Barrow, 1987
M339 Poles only occur at the ends of magnets. Barrow, 1987
M340 [Lack of experience of repulsion in comparison with attraction]. Barrow, 1987
M341 [Important to have experience with two magnets, and with a magnet and a magnetic material]. Barrow, 1987
M342 A North pole of a magnet will stick to a magnetic material, and the South pole of the magnet with repel the magnetic material.
M343 [Teaching about magnets may dissociate pupils from their experiences of everyday magnets] Barrow, 1987
M344 Events involving magnets and/or magnetic materials are linked [without any conception of a magnetic force]. Selman et al., 1982
M345 Big magnets are stronger than little magnets.  Finley, 1986
M346 All metals are magnetic. Finley, 1986
M347 [Having been shown a small strong magnet] Small magnets are stronger than big magnets.  Finley, 1986
Electromagnetism
M348 [Some pupils do not recognise the magnetic effect from the current flowing in a wire]. Barrow, 1987
M349 The magnetic effect when a current flows in a wire is caused by the wire. Selman et al., 1982
M350 A current carrying wire must be uninsulated for it to make an electromagnet. Andersson, 1985

Heating

Heat and temperature
M351 Confusion with the meaning of words like 'heat', 'heat flow' or 'heat capacity'. Harris (1981)
M352 Heat is a substance Harris (1981)
M353 Heat is a substance that can flow into and out of things Erickson (1977)
M354 Cold is a substance Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)
M355 Hot and cold are two different phenomena Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)
M356 Cold is the opposite of hot Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)
M357 Hot only associated with very hot bodies Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M358 Heat associated with movement Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M359 Heat spreads out like a fluid Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M360 Human body heat is normal Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M361 Manufactured heat Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M362 Any temperature above freezing is heat. Cold is the opposite and applies to any temperature below freezing Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M363 Heat occupies a particular area. Cooling is a reduction in intensity Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M364 Heat facts known but not explained (e.g. 'heat rises', 'hot things expand' and 'heat travels through metals' Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)
M365 Temperature is a mixture of heat and cold inside an object Erickson (1977)
M366 Temperature is a measure of the amount of heat possessed by an object Erickson (1977)
M367 No distinction between intensity of heat and amount of heat Erickson (1977)
M368 Temperature related to the size, volume or amount of stuff present Erickson (1977)
M369 Temperature as a property of a material (e.g. some substances 'naturally warm') Erickson (1977)
M370 Heat is hot, but temperature can be cold or hot (common ages 10 - 12) Tiberghien (1983)
M371 Temperature is heat (found ages 10 - 16) Tiberghien (1983)
M372 Temperature is a means to measure heat Tiberghien (1983)
M373 Temperature is not a parameter which can be used to describe the condition of a material Tiberghien (1983)
M374 Mixing hot and cold water lead to correct qualitative judgements but incorrect quantitative judgements Driver and Russell (1982)
M375 Mixing hot and cold water add or subtract two initial temperatures to find the final temperature Driver and Russell (1982) & Stavy and Berkovitz (1980)
M376 Mixing cold water and cold water results in water twice as cold (because twice as much water) (not ages 4 - 6 or >12 but emerges ages 5 - 8)  Strauss and Stavy (1982)
M377 Mixing equal amounts of cold and cold water predictions less likely to be correct than equal amounts of hot and cold water Strauss and Stavy (1982)
M378 Temperature of a beaker of ice at 0 ⁰C goes up (ages < 8) or goes down (ages < 14) when more ice added  Driver and Russell (1982)
M379 Thermometer not recognised Appleton (1985)
M380 Thermometer use not known Appleton (1985)
M381 Difficulty estimating temperature of ice water Appleton (1985)
M382 Difficulty estimating temperature of recently boiled water Appleton (1985)
M383 Thermometers only used for measuring heat (so can't measure temperature of ice water) Appleton (1985)
M384 Difficulty explaining how a thermometer works Appleton (1985)
Energy transfer processes
M385 Conduction explained by energy overflowing and spreading Erickson (1977)
M386 Situation specific explanations of energy flow Engel (1982)
M387 Metal attracts coldness Engel (1982)
M388 Metal absorbs coldness Engel (1982)
M389 Conduction explained by hot particles moving along a solid bar. They cooled and stopped moving (ages 13 - 17) Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M390 Conduction explained by cold particles in water exchanging with hot particles in a solid Watts and Gilbert (1985)
M391 Children appear to find the idea of heat flowing away from their hand harder than heat flowing towards their hand Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)
M392 Conduction ideas not used when explaining feeling of hand on a cold surface Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)
M393 Conductors and insulators seen as opposites Brook et al. (1984)
M394 Insulators have no conductive ability at all Brook et al. (1984)
M395 Kinetic model not used spontaneously (ages 11 -16) Driver (1984)
M396 Particles melt or expand Driver (1984)
M397 Observable properties (e.g. hardness or thickness) used to explain differences in temperature Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)
M398 Metal is a colder substance than plastic Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)
M399 Metals 'pull in' or 'release' heat easily Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)
M400 Heat stays on the surface of metals which allows it to be conducted well Engel, Clough and Driver (1985)

Gravity

The Earth's Gravity
M401 Forces only exist in a line [unilateral theory]. Selman et al. 1982
M402 Gravity pushes. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M403 Gravity holds. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M404 Gravity is caused by air pressure. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M405 Gravity is caused by air pressure which prevents things floating away. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M406 If there is no air, there is no gravity. Ruggiero et al. 1985
M407 Gravity lies outside objects [rather than being a property of all objects]. Driver, 1994
M408 Only some objects experience gravity. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M409 Gravity is caused by the Earth's magnetism. Stead and Osborne, 1980; Vicentini-Missoni, 1981
M410 Gravity is caused by the Earth's spin. Stead and Osborne, 1980; Vicentini-Missoni, 1981
M411 Artificial gravity' is caused by the Earth's spin. Vicentini-Missoni, 1981
M412 Gravity does not decrease with height. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M413 Gravity decreases with height extremely rapidly (rather than gradually). Stead and Osborne, 1980; Ruggiero et al., 1985
M414 Gravity increases with height [until outside the Earth's atmosphere]. Stead and Osborne, 1980; Ruggiero et al., 1985
M415 Gravity is the same as potential energy [hence higher gravity as height increases]. Watts, 1982
M416 Gravity is an upward force [which holds us vertical]. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M417 Gravity is a material which can be trapped [for example in aeroplanes, or which can flow up pylons to keep birds in place on wires]. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M418 Gravity only occurs at the surface of the Earth [which is why birds can fly]. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M419 Gravity is a very large force [because it affects so many things]. Watts, 1982
Weight
M420 Weight is not 'the force of gravity'. Stead and Osborne, 1980; Ruggiero et al., 1985; Vicentini-Missoni, 1981; Watts, 1982
M421 Gravity only affects heavy things. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M422 It is possible to have weight without gravity [e.g. astronauts have moon boots to give them weight when there is no gravity]. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M423 Gravity keeps birds up when they fly. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M424 Gravity is a property of space [in contrast to weight which is seen as a property of an object]. Ruggiero et al. 1985
M425 Air is necessary to keep things on the ground. Ruggiero et al. 1985
M426 Weight is affected by air. Ruggiero et al. 1985
M427 Weight depends upon air. Ruggiero et al. 1985
M428 Gravity does not act in the same way on all things. Watts, 1982
M429 Gravity does not act in the same way on all things at all times. Watts, 1982
M430 Gravity acts with weight to keep things down. Watts, 1982
M431 There is no force of gravity on submerged objects [which is why some things float]. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M432 There is less gravity on submerged objects. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M433 Gravity acts upwards on submerged objects. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M434 Gravity only acts on the parts of a submerged object which are above the surface [e.g. the head of a swimmer]. Stead and Osborne, 1980
Mass and density (from Driver, 1994, p. 77)
M435 Felt weight' is a property of an object. Holding, 1987; Mullet and Gervais, 1990
M436 Objects press downwards [rather than being pulled down by the force of gravity]. Holding, 1987
M437 Mass means the same as 'massive'. Holding, 1987
M438 Mass means the same as 'size'. Holding, 1987
M439 Mass means the same as 'volume' [so mass is estimated based on volume]. Holding, 1987
M440 Weight and size are not linked together [with the concept of 'density']. Smith et al., 1984
M441 Weight means the same as 'density' [both included in the concept 'heaviness']. Smith et al., 1984
M442 [Pupils may have 'misconceptions' about volume which lead to problems with the concept of density]. Rowell et al., 1990
Falling
M443 A force is not necessary to explain why objects fall. Stead and Osborne, 1980; Ruggiero et al., 1985
M444 It is just 'natural' for objects to fall [no further explanation is necessary]. Stead and Osborne, 1980; Ruggiero et al., 1985
M445 A person letting something go causes things to fall [no further explanation is necessary]. Stead and Osborne, 1980; Ruggiero et al., 1985
M446 Things 'fall down' because of a loss of equilibrium. Things 'fall' because of the force of gravity. Vicentini-Missoni, 1981
M447 Equilibrium, gravity and falling are separate concepts [rather than unified]. Vicentini-Missoni, 1981
M448 Things fall if nothing holds them up. Vicentini-Missoni, 1981
M449 Things fall because of their weight [without recognising weight as the force of gravity]. Vicentini-Missoni, 1981
M450 Heavier things fall faster than lighter things.  Osborne, 1984; Gunstone and White, 1980; Nachtigall, no date
M451 Barriers stop things falling [without the idea of balanced forces]. Osborne, 1984
M452 The Earth and 'heaviness' pulls things down. Selman et al. 1982
M453 Gravity acts on a falling object, but when it has landed gravity no longer acts. Watts, 1982
M454 A ball thrown in the air experiences a force which counteracts gravity. This force runs out [so the object falls]. Watts, 1982
M455 Objects fall at a constant speed because the force of gravity is constant [so force causes velocity, rather than causing a change in velocity]. Nachtigall, no date; McDermott, 1983
M456 Increasing velocity during free-fall implies a gravity gradient [with maximum gravity near the Earth's surface]. Nachtigall, no date; McDermott, 1983
M457 Gravity works on the weight of an object to cause it to fall. Ruggiero et al. 1985
M458 Gravity and weight act on an object to cause it to fall. Ruggiero et al. 1985
M459 Falling is a natural motion of objects when there is no support. Ruggiero et al. 1985
M460 Acceleration due to the force of gravity is the same thing as a gravitational field. Rogers, 1984
M461 Negative acceleration as a ball thrown upwards, combined with positive acceleration as the ball falls, means there is zero acceleration at the vertex. Rogers, 1984
Gravity in space
M462 Gravity only exists on Earth [cf. association of gravity with air]. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M463 Gravity needs a medium [like air], so there is no gravity in space. Watts and Gilbert, 1985
M464 There are molecules of gravity in air. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M465 There is no gravity on the moon. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M466 Not all planets have gravity. Stead and Osborne, 1980
M467 There is no gravity in space [i.e. whilst experiencing 'weightlessness' in space, but whilst in orbit around a planet]. Stead and Osborne, 1980

The Earth in Space

The Earth
M468 The Earth is flat. Nussbaum, 1985; Baxter, 1989; Vosniadou and Brewer, 1990
M469 The Earth is flat and round like a pancake. Nussbaum, 1985; Baxter, 1989; Vosniadou and Brewer, 1990
M470 The Earth is flat and round like a pancake and surrounded by water. Nussbaum, 1985; Baxter, 1989; Vosniadou and Brewer, 1990
M471 The Earth is a sphere. We live inside the sphere. [The inside of the sphere might be blue explaining why the sky is blue]. Nussbaum, 1985; Baxter, 1989; Vosniadou and Brewer, 1990
M472 The Earth is a sphere. We live on the outside of the sphere. People live on the top hemisphere. 'Down' is always the same direction. Nussbaum, 1985; Baxter, 1989; Vosniadou and Brewer, 1990
M473 The Earth is a sphere. We live on the outside of the sphere. People live all over the sphere. 'Down' is always the same direction. Nussbaum, 1985; Baxter, 1989; Vosniadou and Brewer, 1990
M474 The Earth is a sphere. We live on the outside of the sphere. People live all over the sphere. 'Down' is towards the surface of the sphere [rather than towards the centre]. Nussbaum, 1985; Baxter, 1989; Vosniadou and Brewer, 1990
M475 There are two Earths. Where we live, and the spherical one in space. Vosnidou and Brewer, 1990
M476 The Earth is round like a plate [with or without an edge]. Vosnidou and Brewer, 1990
Day and night
M477 At night the sun hides, sleeps, turns off, goes out, is on the ground, hides behind trees, goes behind hills… [animate sun] Vosnidou and Brewer, 1990; Baxter, 1989; Klein, 1982
M478 At night the sun is covered by clouds.
M479 At night the sun is covered by the moon.
M480 It gets dark because the sun is covered by night/dark/the atmosphere.
M481 The sun goes round the Earth. At night the sun is on the other side of the Earth.
M482 The Earth goes round the Sun each day. This explains why it gets dark at night.
M483 The Sun moves up and down. This explains why it gets dark at night.
The Earth, Moon and Sun
M484 [Little research has explored children's ideas about the solar system as a whole according to Driver, 1994, p.171)].
M485 The Earth is at the centre of the solar system. Vosniadou and Brewer, 1990
M486 The Earth is in the centre. The sun and moon move closer and further away. [Magic model] Jones et al., 1987
M487 The Earth spins in the centre. The Sun and Moon are either side. Jones et al., 1987
M488 The Earth is in the centre. The Sun and Moon orbit the Earth. Jones et al., 1987
M489 The Sun is in the centre. The Earth and Moon orbit the Sun. Jones et al., 1987
M490 The shape of the Sun, Earth and Moon is flat. Jones et al., 1987
M491 The shape of the Sun, Earth and Moon is a 3D object [but not a sphere]. Jones et al., 1987
M492 The Earth is bigger than the Sun. Jones et al., 1987
M493 The Moon is bigger than the Sun [or the same size]. Jones et al., 1987
M494 The Earth, Sun and Moon are all the same size. Sadler, 1987
M495 The Earth, Sun and Moon are all a similar size. Sadler, 1987
M496 The Sun is closer to the Earth than the Moon. Sadler, 1987
M497 The Sun and Moon are within a few Earth diameters of the Earth. Sadler, 1987
The phases of the Moon and eclipses
M498 The phases of the Moon are caused by clouds covering part of the Moon. Baxter, 1989
M499 The phases of the Moon are caused by a planet casting a shadow on the Moon. Baxter, 1989
M500 The phases of the Moon are caused by the Sun casting a shadow on the Moon. Baxter, 1989
M501 The phases of the Moon are caused by the Earth casting a shadow on the Moon. [Most common idea] Baxter, 1989
M502 No understanding of the phases of the Moon. Targon, 1987
The changing year
M503 It is cold in the winter because a cold planet takes heat from the Sun.
M504 It is cold in the winter because winter clouds stop heat getting to the Earth.
M505 It is cold in the winter because the Sun is further away from the Earth at that time.
M506 It is cold in the winter because the Sun is on the other side of the Earth at that time.
M507 It is cold in the winter because of plants.
The solar system and beyond
M508 The Sun is a planet. Lightman et al., no date
Static Electricity
M509 No clear understanding of the concept of charge. (Eylon & Ganiel, 1990; Galili 1993; Guruswamy et al., 1997; Thacker et al., 1999)
M510 a neutral object has no charge. (Calilot & Xuan, 1993; Thacker et al., 1999)
M511 a charged body contains only either electrons or protons. (Siegel & Lee, 2001)
M512 friction is the cause of static electricity. (Calilot & Xuan, 1993; Siegel Lee, 2001)
M513 No clear understanding of the concept of electric field. Difficulties about representation of electric field lines. (Eylon & Ganiel, 1990; McMillan & Swadener, 1991; Galili, 1993; Törnkovist et al., 1993; Rainson et al., 1994; Furio & Guisasla, 1998; Savelsberg et al., 2002)
M514 Electric field lines are real. (Galili, 1993)
M515 Electric field lines can cross each other. (Törnkovist, 1993)
M516 Electric field lines can make sharp boundaries. (Törnkovist, 1993)
M517 Force exerted on a charge on the field line is along the field line. (Törnkovist, 1993)
M518 field lines can begin/and end anywhere. (Rainson et al., 1994; Maloney et al., 2001)
M519 there are a finite number of field lines. (Rainson et al., 1994; Maloney et al., 2001)
M520 there is no transfer of charge between two metal objects with charges of the same sign. (Guruswamy et al., 1997)
M521 transfer between oppositely charged metal objects occurs until one of the objects is neutral. (Guruswamy et al., 1997)
M522 there is no transfer between a charged metal object and a neutral metal object. (Guruswamy et al., 1997)
M523 the charges on the two metal objects remain the same after touching regardless of the signs of the initial charges. (Guruswamy et al., 1997)
M524 charges jump from one plate of the capacitor to the other. (Thacker et al., 1999)
M525 parallel plate capacitors store a net charge. (Thacker et al., 1999; Jones & Childers, 1992, p. 474; Ohanian, 1989, p. 662)
M526 parallel plate capacitors store voltage’ where students may not know what a capacitor is. (Beaty, 1996; Simanek, 2002)
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