Alternative Conceptions

General, Forces and Motion, Electricity, Astronomy

Misconceptions or Alternative Conceptions?

"The use of the word 'misconception' lends a heft to the student's thinking that just may not be there. What and how they think is highly plastic and often only codified by researchers: the more subtle amongst them acknowledge that these thought patterns are transitory, often heavily influenced by context and do not seek the coherence that formal study seeks to bring. That's why the Wrong Track / Right Lines dichotomy evolved. Nothing is yet fixed. Students are just passing through. 'Conceptions' is a rather overblown term to codify the halting pointing, mumbling and incomplete gesticulating ... Not that it's wrong; just that you need to bear in mind, not only that large numbers of people might seem to think in a particular way, but also that that given a slightly different set of clues, they'll seem to be thinking in an entirely different way." Ian Lawrence (iop: talkphysics.org)

General

  • Making sense of secondary science: research into children's ideas by R Driver et al, Routledge, 1994.
  • Children's ideas in Science by Rosalind Driver, Edith Guesne and Andre Tiberghien, Open University Press, 1985
  • Learning in Science by Roger Osborne and Peter Freyberg, Heinemann, 1985
  • Children's Informal Ideas in Science by Paul Black, Routledge, 1983
  • The Content of Science by Peter Fensham, Richard Gunstone and Richard White, Routledge, 1994

Resources from Physics Teachers' Conferences

Useful Websites

Forces and Motion

Resources

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Electricity

Resources

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Astronomy

Resources: Audio files from recent Physics Teachers Conferences

Resources: Support documents from Dr McKinnon's talk at the 2009 Physics Teachers Conference

Useful Websites