Science Misconceptions

Misconceptions can be referred to as a preconceived notion or a conceptual misunderstanding. These are cases in which something a person knows and believes does not match what is known to be scientifically correct.

A lot of people who hold misconceptions do not even know that their ideas are false or incorrect. When they are told they are wrong, they often have a hard time giving up their misconceptions, especially if they have had a misconception for a long time. Imagine someone telling you your father was not actually your father, but your mother!

What is especially worrisome about misconceptions is that people continue to build knowledge on their current understandings. Possessing misconceptions can have serious impacts on an individual's learning.

Below is a listing of some tools to help address misconceptions.

User Submitted Science Misconceptions
See what other science teachers think are some of the biggest misconceptions in their science classrooms. Actual educators upload and share their ideas here.

Submit your own Misconception
Want to share a misconception you have noticed in your classroom with the rest of the science education community? Click the link above to get started.

Making Sense of Secondary Science
This is a link to one of the best books in my opinion that deals with science misconceptions on the secondary level.

Common Science Misconceptions
I have compiled an extensive list of students' misconceptions on a variety of science topics from a variety of science sources.

Misconceptions in Primary Science
Ok book which describes over 100 common misconceptions and their potential origins, and then explains the correct principles with creative activities to help students to grasp the underlying scientific concepts.

Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed
Great book which tries to set the record straight, he debunks these and many other astronomy-related urban legends in this knowledgeable, lighthearted volume.

Scientific Method Misconceptions
Addresses and attempts to refute several of the most widespread and enduring misconceptions held by students.

NSF Survey Results Summary
Listing of survey results.

Print & Video in Changing Science Misconception
153 fifth grade students found to have misconceptions about seasonal change were randomly assigned to either a video-print or print-video group.

Debunking Common Science Misconceptions
Attempts to sensitize teachers and students to examples of the bad science often taught in schools, and offered in articles and textbooks.

The Power of Children's Thinking
This chapter from Inquiry: Thoughts, Views, and Strategies for the K-5 Classroom does a great job of describing children's theory building.

Confronting Children's Experience
Will help teachers better understand their role in overcoming children's misconceptions.

Astronomy Misconceptions
Common misconceptions found within the astronomical sciences.

Biology Misconceptions
Misconceptions found within the biological and living environment curriculums.

Chemistry Misconceptions
Misconceptions dealing with chemistry.

Geology Misconceptions
Some common misconceptions about geology and the earth sciences.

Meteorology Misconceptions
Some interesting misconceptions regarding children's knowledge in meteorology.

Physics Misconceptions
A ton of physics related misconception data for children.