Addressing Misconceptions in Science Teaching

Sometimes students can have common misconceptions in the science classroom. As a science teacher, it is important to address these misconceptions and find the root cause of these issues. To help aid the students to learning from the misconceptions they have it is always important to have a welcoming class where students are comfortable to make mistakes. As educators we need to learn where these misconceptions come from, so we can learn from them as well. There are various misconceptions in the science classroom that can affect student’s learning.

Some common misconceptions in the science classroom

  • The Earth is flat
  • Traits are always determined by a single gene and that traits aquired during an individuals lifetime can be passed down to offspring
  • Seasons are caused by varying distances between the Sun and Earth, rather than the tilt on the Earth’s axis.
  • Energy misconceptions regarding Newton’s laws of motion
  • Chemical reactions misconceptions being substances are destroyed rather than converted into something new
  • Evolution is random, instead of it is driven by natural selection

Strategies to address misconceptions

  • Inviting classroom culture where students are comfortable in the classrooom
  • Recognizing the impact of old learning has on new learning
  • Addressing misconceptions at the same time you introduce that topic
  • Determining students prior knowledge to identify their understanding of the content
  • Traditional instruction is not useful when addressing misconceptions
  • Helping students make connections to their everyday lives
  • Helping students develop concept maps to help clear up their misconceptions


  1. Hello Allie, I thought it was really cool how you included a list of common science misconceptions. This could be really helpful to future science teachers who may not know what students often assume. I also like the addition of the YouTube video. I am wondering if you could be more specific about how traditional instruction does not work to address misconceptions. What do you mean by this?

    • Thanks for reading my post! By traditional instruction, I mean by just lecturing the students about their misconceptions. I think it is important to let students take the lead and figure out their misconceptions rather than just telling the students.

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