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Poll: Science Misconceptions - your opinion requested! - trinalin thinks things through
trinalin
trinalin
Poll: Science Misconceptions - your opinion requested!
For my Masters class on Informal Science Learning, I have to make an informal science learning "thing" as my final project. I created my science blog for this purpose. Now that I'm working on the final project, I want to make some informal science learning posts to it. And I want to cover science misconceptions. Being physical science-oriented, I'll probably focus on physics and chemistry questions. (However, my first one will be biological, thanks to a question a co-worker asked me recently.)

Since physics is so counter-intuitive, I'll probably single it out more than the others. Still, I'm open for suggestions from you folks. I've created a poll to see what you think about some of my topic ideas. Vote on ones you'd like to see covered, or things that you think OTHER people really need to see covered. And if you have some ideas on what you wish someone would explain to you or to other people, comment on it and I'll see what I can do.

Poll #1098221 Science Misconceptions

Choose some of the following physics misconceptions you might be interested in seeing addressed:

Newton's Third Law - "equal and opposite" - like hell they are!
0(0.0%)
Newton's Third Law - action occurs first and then the reaction, right?
0(0.0%)
Newton's Third Law - but if they're equal and opposite, why don't they cancel out?
1(4.8%)
Newton's First Law - an object in motion really remains in motion? But objects stop if you let them run.
1(4.8%)
Centrifugal force - what do you mean it doesn't exist?
1(4.8%)
Suction - what do you mean it doesn't exist?
2(9.5%)
Theory vs Law - they're just guesses, right?
4(19.0%)
I've got other things that need 'splainin' and will comment about them
0(0.0%)

Thank you for voting in this poll. And please tell friends to come and vote in it - the more feedback I can get, the more useful I can make my science blog (which I intend to keep going after this quarter is over).

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6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
antikythera From: antikythera Date: December 1st, 2007 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Two biggies for me are 'the Earth has seasons because sometimes it's closer to the Sun' and 'the Moon has phases because of Earth's shadow'.

The software I do tech support for covers these nicely in a 3D simulation kind of way, but they're still biggies.
trinalin From: trinalin Date: December 1st, 2007 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah! Thanks. Those were two that in the past I thought "sheesh, people STILL get that wrong?"

Is the software that you tech support for available online? Or is it something that needs installing? For those two misconceptions, I can probably find something online that will help to illustrate them. Or I could subject my journal readers to Search Out Science with Sylv & Sophie. ;-)
antikythera From: antikythera Date: December 1st, 2007 03:25 am (UTC) (Link)
We don't have an online version that can do that, unfortunately. The nearest we can get is an inexpensive downloadable:

http://www.starrynightstore.com/digitaldownloadnew.html
capriuni From: capriuni Date: December 1st, 2007 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
probably not something for your project, but I've been wondering lately: what's up with the white squiggly when I turn off my old tv set? why is it a different shape every time?

Oh, yeah, and I think the main confusion that I've seen isn't so much "Theory vs. Law" but "Theory VS Hypothesis" (I'm trying to get into the habit of using the latter when I mean the latter).
trinalin From: trinalin Date: December 1st, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I get a lot of kids who haven't a clue what either a theory or a law is. It doesn't help that sometimes teachers say that hypotheses grow into theories and theories into laws. Blergh! The amount of stuff kids have to unlearn when they get to chemistry & physics is phenomenal.
capriuni From: capriuni Date: December 1st, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
The clearest explaination I've read of the word "Theory" (though not sure if it's truly accurate) was in James Lovelock's Ages of Gaia.

I can't get to the bookshelf where the book is, right now, so I can't quote him directly, but he made the point that the word "Theory" has the same root as "Theater"-- and a theory is the way you wrap up all the information and learning gleaned from myriad experiments, and present it to the world -- like a theatrical tableau-- it's what comes at the end, not the beginning.

I dunnno. I'm a word and lit geek, so maybe that just appeals to my metaphor sense.

Don't have any explaination for Law, though...

But you're right. "Hypothesis grow into theories" makes it sound like a hypothesis is just an unripe theory, or something, and that kinda misses the mark.... it's not so inevitable.
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