Quick Look: How to Debunk Enduring Myths for Science Students

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Annie Murphy Paul writes: "In order to persuade students to embrace new and more accurate ideas about how the world operates, science teachers need to find out which “alternative conceptual frameworks” — myths — they already hew to. To that end, researchers have developed student surveys that can help instructors identify the beliefs their pupils have when they walk through the classroom door."

Seasons are caused by the earth's distance from the sun. Motors and other machines use up energy. A heavier ball falls faster than a lighter one. If these propositions sound right to you, that's only natural — they're examples of folk science, widely-shared but faulty assumptions about how the phy...

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