Vernier Science Education - June  2024


Forums / Early Childhood / Misconceptions

Early Childhood


Author Post
Amy Coulter Amy Coulter 155 Points

What are some common misconceptions that you see in your student's in regards to science?

Laura Dang Laura Dang 995 Points

Hi Amy, I am in a first grade class and one misconception I have seen in the students is about the rainbow. I've heard the students explain a rainbow and they always say, the reason why there is a rainbow is because it is reflecting from all the colors from the earth. I think this is a very common misconception, not only with younger students but even with some adults. 

Edith Heppe Edith Heppe 405 Points

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about science is that it done wearing a lab coat and goggles. We don't really talk about things as if they are science even though most things we experience are science or science related. We can deconstruct this misconception by engaging students in science everyday. Little by little. Have them compare the weather day to day and then discuss it for five minutes. Have them look at where the sun is and start charting it in comparison to a landmark at school. It is so easy to point out where science is happening and we epically fail at doing this daily.

Alison Wright Alison Thalmann 16435 Points

Hi Amy! A couple of common misconceptions I have seen my kindergarteners make include all metals are attracted to a magnet and animals have to be furry and cuddly, like a dog or cat, but a girl and boy are not animals according to them. Page Keeley writes a wonderful series called Uncovering Student Ideas, which has some very valuable assessment probes to help in discovery your students' misconceptions, or pre-conceptions if you haven't taught the topic yet. I love the quote one of her books opens with in the Introduction by Dylan Wiliam, "When teachers are asked how they assess their students, they typically talk about tests, examinations, quizzes, and other formal methods. When they are asked how they know whether their students have learned what they have taught, the answers are very different."

Veronica Temple Veronica Temple 535 Points

My PreK students have the same misconception. They believed that the rainbow was painted in the sky

Daniela Rosselli Daniela Rosselli 575 Points

One of the most common misconceptions that I noticed in my kindergartners is that they don't believe that plants are actually alive. 

Zeben Gorman Zeben Gorman 375 Points

My students (6th graders, but i'm assuming they've had these ideas for a while) seem to think that earthquakes are caused by something shaking underground. While they're not entirely wrong, they seem to imagine it as if there were big sporadically vibrating disks under the surface of the earth. I had them draw their ideas about the topic and I was surprised to see a lot of this.

Frances Stupakis Frances Stupakis 395 Points

In regards to weather, my students have many misconceptions about what causes weather to change. They also have difficulty differentiating between the seasons because they live in a Southern California city that does not have much seasonal changes! 

Danielle Colchado Danielle Colchado 1260 Points

I have found that most students have the misconceptions about the difference in law and theory. Also there is this idea that only one can change but can not determine which could change. Students need to be taught that science is ever changing and is driven by creative, individualistic wonderings. 

Brianna Gage Brianna Gage 600 Points

After presenting three videos of live streams around the world, I notice that my students had the misconception that it can be night in one place and day in the other because the Sun is moving/orbiting the Earth. 

Jonathan Marin Jonathan Marin 435 Points

I would say mirrors. Try this: If you were 5 feet away from a mirror looking at yourself in the mirror and then distanced yourself from the mirror another 10 feet, would your image be smaller, bigger, or the same in the mirror. The mirror must be perfectly flat on a wall. Most kids say your image gets smaller and they swear to you that they know this because they see themselves in the mirror every day and notice themselves get smaller if they back away from it. The truth is, you stay the same size no mater how close or far you are from it. Is that not interesting? they see themselves in the mirror everyday, yet they can't see the truth. Classic misconception if you ask me. 

Laura Leoppard Laur Leoppard 60 Points

I am an elementary education major and in my course Teaching Science we are currently going over science misconceptions. My peers and I were asked to draw a picture of what it means to do science. We were all surprised to find out that most of us drew pictures of a male scientists in lab coats and goggles surrounded by beakers just as Edith mentioned. As future educators we need to break this misconception and show students that science can be found and done in almost everything around us. I also agree with Edith that educators often fail to take simple opportunities and turn them into science lessons. I aspire to learn how to utilize simple opportunities that arise in my future classroom to talk about science and break science misconceptions. 

Abbey Peterson Abbey Peterson 220 Points

In the classroom I am observing, I overheard students discussing the sun. One student thought that the sun disappears at night. I asked the student why he thought this and he told me it is because he can't see it at night so it must disappear into space and then come back in the morning. I thought this was very interesting but can understand why a Kindergartener thought this. 

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