Lunar and Planetary Institute

Misconceptions and Educational Research

Common misconceptions include:

Some research has been conducted on how students understand the seasons, and on most effective ways to teach this subject:

A Private Universe
A powerful collection of video clips of students' astronomical ideas (seasons and moon phases) and how they change (or don ’t) with classroom instruction. ages five and above. While much research needs to be done, the studies reported here offer ideas for how teachers and curriculum developers can help students achieve the goals outlined in the National Science Education Standards.

Private Universe Project "Teachers Lab"
Designed for classroom teachers, this site begins with a 5-question conceptual assessment survey of the visitor ’s ideas about lunar phases and seasons.  The information is presented with a discussion of typical responses. Classroom activities are presented and a forum is available for educators to share their questions, ideas, and experiences.  

Atwood, V. & Atwood, R. 1996, “Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Conceptions of the Causes of Seasons,” Journal
of Research in Science Teaching, Vol. 33, No. 5 pp.553-563.