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Moon Misconceptions.



Over the course of history, scientists have constructed models and equations that provide insight into the motions of the heavens. However, research indicates many people hold alternative conceptions that, to them, explain the same observable phenomenon. Science educators have found that students learning about lunar phases may hold misconceptions even after the students were provided a scientifically correct explanation for lunar phases during classroom instruction. In this article, the authors present a three-step teaching strategy for addressing lunar misconceptions. This strategy involves: (1) Identifying the misconception; (2) Overturning the misconception; and (3) Replacing it with a scientific conception. (Contains 2 figures.)
This research explored young children's early thoughts about natural phenomena and investigated sources of influence toward their knowledge construction. Two Piagetian interviews were conducted with four children. Each child was questioned about two phenomena in particular: (a) the moon and its changing appearance (moon phases) and (b) the formation of shadows. The first Piagetian interview involved a lunar protocol, and the second (given a week later) was a shadow protocol. The external interest of this research study concerns when and why do children develop the commonly held Earth's shadow misconception as the cause of the moon's phases. Findings showed that none of the young children believed that various lunar phases were due to an Earthly shadow cast upon the moon. The shadow interview results revealed that young children had primitive understandings of the shadow concept. In fact, two of the four children indicated that no light source was needed to produce a shadow.
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