Children and Preservice Teachers’ Misconceptions and Scientifically Acceptable Conceptions about Movement, Force, and Gravity
A qualitative study of fifty-eight (58) students aged 9 to 12 and 85 preservice elementary teachers from Quebec, Canada, on their alternative conceptions of force, motion, and gravity found that they shared many misconceptions despite their age and training. The majority of their understandings are vastly different from those established by the scientific community. They resemble those developed in the pre-Newtonian Physics setting, such as the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s viewpoint and the 14th-century Impetus theory developed by the French philosopher Buridan. For this, we gave them a sixty-minute paper-and-pencil questionnaire comprised of six questions.. The findings were analyzed using previous research on students’ and teachers’ perceptions of motion and force. The following were the most common misconceptions discovered after analyzing the data: 1. The force exerted on an object is proportional to its speed; 2. The concepts of mass and weight are synonymous; 3. The quantity of matter in an object on Earth differs from that on the Moon; 4. There is no gravitation in the absence of atmosphere, as there is on the Moon; and 5. There are no forces exerted in an object at rest. Gravity does not act on stationary objects; 7. Forces must be applied to moving objects in order to keep them moving; and 8. An object cannot continue to move if force is not applied continuously. The identified misconceptions are relevant for developing teaching strategies centered on conceptual conflict with trainee teachers in order to move them toward scientific conceptions. To appreciate their misconceptions, one must confront them with the incorrect movement theories developed by renowned scientists.
Author (S) Details
Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal (Québec) Canada.
Université d’Ottawa, Ottawa (Ontario) Canada.
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