Lunar and Planetary Institute

Galaxies and the Universe
Misconceptions and Educational Research

Common misconceptions include:

Research includes:

How do visitors understand the universe?
This article, which was published in the May/June 1999 Association of Science-Technology Centers Newsletter, presents an overview of several front-end visitor studies from museums and science centers.

The Solar System in Its Universal Context: Ideas, Misconceptions, Strategies, and Programs to Enhance Learning
J.A. Grier, E.L. Reinfeld, M.E. Dussault, S.J. Steel and R.Gould1, Universe Forum, presented at LPSC XXXVI
The study's data suggests that some of the misconceptions relating to the size of the solar system, placement, distance, scale and hierarchy of astronomical objects are introduced or reinforced by not including the solar system in a consistent, coherent picture within the rest of the galaxy and universe. If these ideas and misconceptions are not addressed, they can form barriers to developing new and more accurate internal models, and impede the assimilation of any new evidence or ideas within those models.

Beyond the Solar System: Expanding the Universe in the Classroom
How can teachers and students explore some of the biggest questions about our place in space and time? This professional development DVD is filled with video, print, and online resources for educators of students and adults alike.