Clarifying Misconceptions in Physics

Note to teacher: Following is a list of common misconceptions in physics.

1. Misconceptions: Electrical charge is used up as if flows through a circuit

2. Misconceptions: Charge flows through circuits at the speed of light

3. Misconceptions: Red light is most energetic and blue light is a least energetic

4. Misconceptions: We are running out of energy

5. Misconceptions: Centrifugal force pushes riders into the walls of turning cars or banking roller coasters

6. Misconceptions: The sky is blue because it reflects the color of the ocean

7. Misconceptions: Vacuum cleaners suctions (pull) up debris from the carpet

8. Misconceptions: Warmer objects have more heat than cooler objectsindex

9. Misconceptions: Rays of sunlight that hit the earth are parallel

10. Misconceptions: Electric companies sell electric charge that flows to consumers

11. Misconceptions: The primary colors of light are red, blue, and yellow

12. Misconceptions: Gravity is a strong force

13. Misconceptions: Infrared light is a kind of heat radiation

14. Misconceptions: energy and force are the same thing

15. Misconceptions: Velocity is another word for speed

16. Misconceptions: If an object has zero velocity, it has zero acceleration

17. Misconceptions: The effects of light are instantaneous

18. Misconceptions: More massive objects fall faster

19. Misconceptions: The more mass in a pendulum bob, the faster it swings

20. Misconceptions: As waves move, matter moves along with them


Give one misconception to each student and instruct the class to research the misconception, explain why is wrong by reasoning from observed facts and experiences and provide a correct explanation.

Reference: Herr, Norman. 2008. The Sourcebook for Teaching Science, Grade 6-12: strategies, activities, and instructional resourches. USA: Jossey-Bass


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