Common Misconceptions in Astronomy
"When asked what causes seasons, graduating Harvard seniors (one of whom had taken several physics classes) informed the filmmakers confidently that (1) eccentricity in Earth's orbit made Earth warmer when it was closest to the sun. They also thought that (2) the phases of the moon were caused by Earth's shadow. The same misconceptions were common among ninth graders in a nearby school. When given an opportunity to test these ideas and see them proven wrong, the students would often let go of them and accept the new ideas they were being taught, but would occasionally try to blend the old and new ideas or revert to the old ideas entirely. " (A Private Universe, M.H. Schneps, P.M. Sadler 1988 Pyramid Films)
- Private Universe Movie (Anneberg/CPB Project) - Note, you may have to wait a few minutes for the video (VoD) to download.
- Private Universe Teacer's Lab (Annenbergy/CPB Science Project)
Animations to help resolve misconceptions
- Explore Learning (Select the Astronomy simulations)
- Specific animations