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Thanks for the help!I really enjoyed it!Plus it helped me out alot with my science fair project! Thanks agin, Molley
Waverly, Oh USA - Wednesday, December 11, 2002 at 09:39:36 (PST)
Hey Bill!!! Sorry I change oppinions quickly, I'm happy and angry. with the economy the way it is I am alwas on edge. Great Site!!!! Thanks, Mr.X
the big one, utah Canada - Friday, December 06, 2002 at 08:30:46 (PST)
hey bill!!! nice site way to waste my time! Jerk
the big one, utah Canada - Friday, December 06, 2002 at 08:27:45 (PST)
Hey, GREAT SITE. takes a real dedicated man to write and describe all that u have, i respect and honour you. You have done a great service, thank you very much. I just wish i found this site earlier :/ my physics presentation on electricity is due tomrrow (in a few hours). I have to talk 1 hour about electricity, hehhe, lets hope i do well, thank u again, i encourgae u to finish the site and move on to ther things cause u are a great writer, good bye.
Toronto, ONT Canada - Wednesday, December 04, 2002 at 19:19:42 (PST)
good for kids that need it for school work
Uk - Sunday, December 01, 2002 at 14:51:47 (PST)
Great site. I really like it!
Martin King <martin_king99atyahoo.com>
USA - Wednesday, November 27, 2002 at 23:23:32 (PST)
Bill, you are a nitpicker! Of course there's not a thing wrong with enjoying ones ability to confuse issues. For all practical purposes I think the general public's idea about "electricity" is just fine and I'm sure you believe that as well. For all practical purposes "electricity" is all things (aren't photons particles and waves). I recall when N.Y. had it's famous blackout my younger sister couldn't understand why the lights didn't work when the gas was still on (go figure). When I first learned of electricity it was electrons moving from plus to minus, some time later they changed that to negative flowing toward positive. Later still it was the "holes" that moved and not actually the electrons which flowed. Now it's proven there's simultaneous occurences at instantaneous speeds over huge distances (what was that about the speed of light barrier). It isn't the language which is incorrect, it's actually the inability of language to keep pace with the speed with which "scientists" change their theories about what is actually occuring. Not such a bad thing when you consider how environmentalists have been wrecking havoc on the world and blaming everyone else for the results. All said your pages are great. Keep up the good work, nitpicker.
NY, NY USA - Wednesday, November 27, 2002 at 20:01:44 (PST)
does the kind of shoes you wear matter how fast you run?
Miami, Fl USA - Wednesday, November 20, 2002 at 17:46:44 (PST)
I agree with you that the angle of attack is the process that gives the most lift, but your pictures of the wing are not right. If you look a an airplane wing it is not concave like your 'better' picture. They are flat on the bottom. More like the 'wrong' picture.
GREG RUTZ <gregoryrutzatyahoocom>
Port Townsend, WA USA - Thursday, November 14, 2002 at 19:06:40 (PST)
I'm glad to see that somebody agrees with me about how wings lift by way of angle of attack and not by airfoil shape! If lift was by airfoil shape alone, then somebody better tell the Blue Angels that they can't fly inverted! And also, with the airfoil shape only theory, how does the air on top of the wing "know" it has to go faster to catch up with the air on the bottom of the wing? From my experience with R/C Airplanes, the airfoil shape has more to do with drag at different angles of attack and speeds. Slow planes = more angle of attack and more curved (flatter bottom or even concave) airfoils. Faster planes = thinner symetrical airfoils. Jeff
Jeff Holan <motorcyberatyahoocom>
Glen Ellyn, IL USA - Wednesday, November 06, 2002 at 14:08:44 (PST)
nice page greetings to the webmaster and all peoples of the world
cheap airline ticket <masteroatmutzweb.za>
- Tuesday, November 05, 2002 at 06:14:54 (PST)
id like to thank this website for all the info i needed. but it does not have simple info for the kids
stockbridge, ga USA - Sunday, November 03, 2002 at 13:33:14 (PST)
Excellent site. It's good to see somebody actively battling ignorance and misconception.
Wichita, KS USA - Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 15:12:21 (PST)
Just found your site and enjoying what I have read. Regarding your reply to whether or not to shut off the lights for a short period "[Turn lights off. The turn-on process doesn't waste much energy. The suggestion to "leave lights on" is a widespread Urban Legend. - billb]"
Part of the reason for leaving the lights on has to do with the impact of cyclic operation on the life span of the device (incandescent or HID lighting). Reportedly the turn-on event is the most stressful time for many electrical devices. The life of the device, cost of a replacement device, and cost of man hours to purchase and install the replacement are some of the factors considered in making the rcommendation to 'leave the lights on'. Perhaps 'they' should produce acomplex multidimensional chart to mount next to each light switch. You could then consult the chart each time you leave the room to determine whether or not the lights should go out (a programmable calculator would also do the trick).
Paul Berry <pberry2002ataolcom>
Antelope, CA USA - Saturday, October 26, 2002 at 13:01:50 (PDT)
i liked your website!i found it helpful yet amusing!thanks
USA - Tuesday, October 22, 2002 at 13:34:16 (PDT)
I have a small quibble. You refer to the building of an AFM as science, and that the people building the AFM as "doing science." Well, they aren't doing science when they are building the AFM any more than someone is doing science when they build a home. While the AFM is a new and important instrument, the people building it are doing engineering rather than science. Nevertheless, you do have a cool site. Also, as a professional scientist, I would have to say that part of my day involves using the scientific method, but only when I am preparing or doing an experiment. And its only after doing the experiment that I can say ,"gee, thats funny..."
[ The building of the AFM was certainly science, it was a revolutionary scientific discovery (and it won the Nobel prize.) The founding of an entire new field of science... is not "doing science?" I suspect that many of your colleagues would strongly disagree. (I was probably unclear in that article, since I was trying to say that the student invented the very first AFM on his/her own, not that they just built a copy.) But you're also right, once the first AFM exists, building copies of it or making simple improvements is engineering rather than science. An AFMcompany is not doing science when manufacturing more AFM instruments... but their R&D wing might be doing science. But my real point is that, if a student invented the very first AFM, and he/she tried to enter it into most science fairs, it would be rejected on the grounds that science means "experiment," and revolutionary discoveries are not science if they are not experimental. Yet that student had just made a Nobel prizewinning scientific discovery. That's certainly not mere engineering! (So, what *is* science? It's whatever scientists say it is... and perhaps the Nobel prizecommittee knows better when they see some Science, than does a science faircommittee in a public school.
So, how do we draw the line between mere engineering and real science? Obviously the lack of "experiment" is not a criteria (remember that non-experimental sciences like Botany and Paleontology and Archeology and Astronomy are also rejected by some science faircommittees.) As with any definition of "science," it's probably best to ask a large group of scientists to make the decision... and they'd better not be all chemists or physicists who are strongly biased, and who insist that "real science" must always involve the performing of experiments. - billb]
Awesome! You have documented many of the exact samecomplaints I've
been making for years -- and then added a few! |
My onlycomplaint: What's with the K-6 stuff? The 7-12 books are every bit as bad, arguably worse. They simply extend and reinforce the same misconceptions and add a bunch new ones.
I have an 8th grade Science textbook that I've been going through listing errors, and I'm personally not strong on a couple of subject areas (I've never been too clear on some Chemistry concepts, for example). I still managed to document many pages of errors and misconceptions. In one section they described the force pushing a rocket upward as the action and the exhaustcoming out the rocket's nozzle as the reaction.
This modern text also extends its crimes into political correctness and propaganda, trying to make cases for various liberal agendas. And, just to confuse the students as much as possible, it also includes a fair bit of legend and mythology presented basically as fact, apparently in a misguided attempt to present "alternative" viewpoints.
Occasionally I will show a page or two from this text to an adult -- any adult -- and usually get the same response: "No wonder our students do so poorly in Science!"
Thanks for your efforts.
Kirby Palm <palmkatnettally.com>
Havana, FL USA - Monday, October 14, 2002 at 11:39:02 (PDT)
Thank you Bill for a useful, thought-provoking, and entertaining site. I found it while searching for information on the density of air as a entertaining subject for my maths class (air not being 'weightless', how hot-air ballons work, wind can blow down buildings, etc). I constantly find this type of error in popular science mags too, especially in my degree area, psychology (because I know about at degree level but everyone and anyone thinks they know what it is, so they write away with impunity). So the soft sciences suffer as much, if not more. Try this one on a doubter: 'Can you define what STRESS is'? Answer: anything you like - or rather, don't like... It is not a specific, useful, scientific concept in medicine or psychology - it is simply a metaphor borrowed from engineering which has good media-appeal and prima facie validity. (Sigmund Freud used this approach to good effect.) Our language, being inveterately metaphorical, absorbs good new buzz-words in a trice. Keep up the good work, Mike
Michael JR Jose <amarula4atyahoo.co.uk>
Birmingham, . UK - Thursday, September 26, 2002 at 07:57:52 (PDT)
i would like to ask, "what is 'ground'?"... but i think that my real question is: "WHY is 'ground'?. sorry i can't be more specific. also... does air have mass?
robert dennis <robertattensionheadache.org>
nyc, ny USA - Wednesday, September 25, 2002 at 13:01:59 (PDT)
Thank you so much for putting together this website. I too have been disturbed by the poor science education in our schools, and of the shoddy writing in our text books. My pet peeve growing up was the very issue of where the lift from an airfoilcomes from. In fact, in Jr. High, I was graded down because I explained the lift in Newtonian terms, demonstrating that Bernouli forces were insufficient. I have another example of bad science education: E=MC**2 is usually invoked to explain nuclear energy sources, but never in connection with other energy exchanges such as chemical or kinetic... but a physicist would agree that the equation refers to all mass energy relations... that energy has mass, period, that a fresh battery has greater mass than that same battery when drained. (Although it may be had to find a scale with the required sensitivity to measure such a tiny decrease in mass.)
Text books also fail to explain Newtonian laws... fail to explain that they can be reduced on one simple statement:
"The center of mass of the universe is constant"
or put another way:
"For any given collection of matter there exists a reference frame coincident with the center of mass which cannot be shifted by any interaction within that collection of matter".
Understanding this, one can begin to understand the relationships between kinetic energy, work, force, etc... and forms the basis for understanding relativity, even of general relativity.
Let us hope that your work on this site will inspire a new generation of primary school science textbook writers.
An airfoil lifts because of the angle of attack. Even a flat board will provide lift with an angle of attack. The drawings should show an angle of attack because all airplanes wings are attached with a built-in angle of attack. The drawings you show will not provide any lift. Jim Cristiano
jim cristiano <cristianoatweitechcom>
sisters, or USA - Monday, September 02, 2002 at 19:45:15 (PDT)
i will make a survey misconceptions and thanks for your help before (ie. expansion of gases). may i know if the spaces between gas particles are all the same? thanks a lot. (your website is the coolest so far but then you know that.)
maria claudette caluban <scheherazadeatdigitelonecom>
naruto city, japan - Thursday, August 22, 2002 at 21:17:08 (PDT)
I love this website!
Great site, but as a 4-6th science teacher I'm feeling rather frustrated. Aren't there one or two good books (physical,earth and life science) that bring things to a level kids can begin to understand and I can really and truly facilitate in a classroom with limited time and resources? School starts soon and to be truthful I don't have the time or energy to spend hours researching the web or print, but I still want to "do right."
[ Not being a K-6 teacher, I don't know which books would be appropriate. Why not try ditching the books entirely and use hands-on activities such as the ones from TOPSCIENCE and others (see my links to sci. kits ) - billb]
Niki J Bowden <ladykaleatnerdnoshcom>
Felton, CA USA - Thursday, August 01, 2002 at 14:56:36 (PDT)
In my crude experiment along with the information on this web site I conclude that you need Bernoulli's Principle Coanda Effect and Newtons third law all working together to maintain flight. A high angle of attack produces turbulance on the top of the wing, which in turn destroys Bernoulli and coanda, when coanda is destroyed it destroys part of Newton's 3rd law. So why not conclude that you need all three for an airplane to fly. Thank You
James Jeffries <spock94ataolcom>
Fulton, NY USA - Tuesday, July 23, 2002 at 12:00:39 (PDT)
Your links to "Electric & Magnetic Interactions" are obsolete. Update:
There is now a two-volume textbook "Matter & Interactions" by Ruth Chabay
& Bruce Sherwood, Wiley 2002. Volume I is subtitled "Modern Mechanics" and
Volume II is subtitled "Electric & Magnetic Interactions".
The relevant links are these:
You might also like to list the following web site concerning a novel freeware 3D programming environment usable by students to create real-time 3D animations of physical systems:
In reference to "light not always travelling at the speed of light" I would have to disagree. While you explain that light will travel 186,000 m/s through a perfect vacuum,the best explanation I think would be that light ALWAYS travels at light speed. Light speed is just the speed at which light travels given its surroundings or medium. Even though light cannot escape the event horizon of a black hole, light is still travelling at the speed of light. Confused?
David Rounseville <squares1atrcncom>
Dedham, ma USA - Tuesday, June 11, 2002 at 22:36:41 (PDT)
Hi, regarding how lift is produced: 60 years of studying aerodynamics, designing, building and flying miniature aircrft has created wonder and thoughts.
First Bournelli: this is based on movement of fluid around
an object. If one side is straight and the other convex, say
Clark Y style airfoil. The longer distance around the convex
side is said to create a positive force, probably so?
When first I saw Dr. Carl Baugh lecturing (on TV, back in '96) on the creation-model(http://www.creationevidenceorg/), my bornagain spirit jumped inside me. Pieces came together concerning a lot of wrong concepts I had about the world, the physics and the origin of man... Wow what creation Adam was! And the superconducting firmament that floated on the eart's magnetic field (which was much stronger back then) and filtrated out the dangerous electromagnetic waves, recharging the magnetic field... and so much more... ANother thing: All this disinformation in the K6 textbooks is simply a result of an elite working behind the scenes, wanting to dumb the public mass down, so we will pose no threat to them, and be "robotlike" workers, like the platonic classes (gold=the elite, silver=the military, bronze class=the workers). Also, there is A LOT of research and information that they willfully keep from the public. A friend of mine was involved in "electronic warfare" in the mid 60's. He said "The equipment we had was the best available at that time. 20 years later, it became available to the public in shops." I myself have an webpage (in norwegian - but with fragments of english in between...) at http://home.c2inet/phos God bless, and educate yourselves - withous knowledge my people perish, said God in the Bible...
Norway - Wednesday, May 22, 2002 at 23:44:58 (PDT)
According to Webster, the word "electricity" dates back to the early 1600s. Who "discovered" electricity? Under which circumstances? Who "invented" the word?
Barbara Zepeda <bzatexecutive-designcom>
Sacramento, CA USA - Monday, May 20, 2002 at 10:07:10 (PDT)
You say that salt water is made up of water, sodium ions and "chlorine ions". There is no such thing as a chlorine ion - it is a chloride ion
Jonathan Payne <superfreak_shu_tupathotmailcom>
Crowthorne, Berks England - Thursday, May 16, 2002 at 13:23:55 (PDT)
Hi, do you have to worry about living to close to power lines. It looks like we might be getting a house across the road from a small power sub station and we dont know what to believe. Is there a reason to worry or not?
Tumbarumba, NSW Australia - Sunday, May 12, 2002 at 19:47:19 (PDT)
Due to recent experiments I have found that airplanes fly by applying a force to a mass of air using its wings. This mass of air circulates through a closed path circuit. When the force caused by this mass of air times its acceleration is greater than the weight of the plane, the plane will rise, when equal it flies level, less it descends.
Las Vegas, NV USA - Saturday, May 04, 2002 at 08:43:21 (PDT)
I came to know that the people living around 220k and 300k suffers from brain tumer and skin diseases.Is it true? If yes tell me what exactly the safe difference should be from that high tension wire, and from where I get the proof of the same.An early reply will be solicited. thanks
Sanjay Sinha <sinha_sanjay123atindiatimescom>
N. Delhi, INDIA - Monday, April 22, 2002 at 04:38:56 (PDT)
While I agree with what you are saying that some of the terms used to explain electricity in American schools is wrong, I myself had what I consider to be a good grounding in electrical theory I was taught to see electric current as you see water (water after all is made up of more than just its flow), I take exception to thecomments on power flow as this is a concept that allows not only professional electrical engineers like myself to quantify supply and demand of both real and reactive power but also allows the general public at least enough knowledge to understand how much the magical wiggly stuff is going to cost. It is great that you correct some of the misconceptions but your explanations are mostly far above what school children of the age you are targeting can grasp. Remember that we cannot see electricity normally and that if children have a visual stimulus or acommon frame of reference to which they can link the theory, they have a better chance of understanding the truth later on when they can follow the maths. I would try to tone the site down a bit and pitch it at the level you intend it for, if you can, then this would bcome a very worth while site. Ian Render B.Eng(Hons), AMIEE
Ian Render <ian.renderatntlworldcom>
UK - Monday, April 15, 2002 at 10:12:36 (PDT)
Firstly, In response to Kia: (I'm just a med student who is highly intrested in physics but) A rectangle or "flat" wing would not work b/c of not only the turbulence created by the flat leading egde pushing against the air but also the turbulence created by the tail edge. This all equals drag. By experimentation, the typical shape of the airfoil (tear drop) inherently allows for this low turbulence therefore a more efficient plane. (good experiment at D.C.'s Air & Space M.) AUTHOR OF K-6, YOU TURNED ME INTO A BELIEVER! I actually teach Bernoulli's in relation w/ biological vascular physics and I thought it prodominated when applied to aerodynamics. I once heared that the suction created by each square inch of a B-747's upper wing surface was equal to the suction created by sucking a straw from a drink. Doesn't make much sense. Moreover, the Newton (as opposed to Bernoulli) way of thinking seems to make more sense in balancing the engine thrust energy and the great lifting energy needed to push a great mass of air down needed to keep the craft airborn (in comparison, suction seems pretty pansy... sorry Bernoulli). Thinking Bernoullian it would seem that the craft would have to travel incredibly fast (until upward "suction" > or = weight of craft) to lift off the ground, when angle of attack = zero. I wonder how fast helicopter blades would have to spin in order to lift off if there were no angle of attack!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Am I thinking right? Maybe I should stick to medicine. Someone please get back to me and let me know!
phila, pa USA - Monday, April 15, 2002 at 00:00:11 (PDT)
RELATIVITY END! (see,www.tsolkas.gr)
Christos Tsolkas <tsolkas1atotenet.gr>
Agrinion , Greece - Monday, March 11, 2002 at 02:13:44 (PST)
You have a very thought provoking page. I see you are trying yourself what electricity is. And the truth is nobody knows what exactly is electricity. And all the confusion among regular folks even scientists derive from that. But I find in too many instances you are self-contradicting your own desription of electricity. Words are poor indeed in describing something that is not a substance but a quality. We only see the qualtitative manifestations.
I do not agree with your assertion in many places where you say it cannot be both. Yes it can when you are not describing matter or substance, as in quatum physics a subatomic quanta can behave both as a particle and a wave, and the observer's expectation (setting up of the experiment) actually determines the oucome. So electricity is neither a charge or current and both a charge and current! It may be confusing but I beleive everything in the Universe is held by electromagnetism. Anyway i found your page quite interesting. It makes people to think for themselves. Thanks.
Susmita Barua <ms2dataatjunocom>
Lexington, KY USA - Monday, February 25, 2002 at 21:12:49 (PST)
This site really blows and we didn't get one answer from it!!!
marissa and emily <www.mandecom>
w, ri USA - Monday, February 25, 2002 at 05:27:56 (PST)
Hi, I just wanted to thank you very very much for helping me understand many things about "electricity" that I found confusing and contradictory. It is a big problem that so many books are filled with false knowledge. Thank you very much Igor Kulasin Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Igor Kulasin <gigaattravnik.net>
Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Wednesday, January 30, 2002 at 08:33:36 (PST)
What a fantastic site! I came here because I had been to a site that scoffed at Newton's Third Law, but it looks like they were just using today's terminology, and what Newton really meant was Forces occur in pairs, not actions. Keep up the great work! Now to read the rest of the pages... David
Great Britain - Saturday, January 26, 2002 at 12:55:06 (PST)
Great site, lots of really helpful stuff. I do have one question though. It should be simple though. What is a short? I've heard people say this before but I don't know what they are refering to. Thanks.
CA USA - Saturday, January 19, 2002 at 23:37:04 (PST)
I'm thirteen, but I've been interested in physics for a while. I came upon this website as I was researching a science project (which happened to be a model of the infamous hypothesis-testing method) on the effect of aircraft (paper) design on the distance it can fly unpowered. I thought that I had flight physucs down, having read a million things about it, but I quickly discovered how wrong it was. I sort of had a half Newton half Bernoulli understanding of flight and aerodynamics. Dispite the fact that both of these contribute to flight, I had seen and believed the straight-arrow diagram. However, I alsao understood downward deflection of air somewhat. Thank you for greatly increasing my understanding of this area.
Christopher Meyer <bible_boy777athotmailcom>
USA - Friday, January 18, 2002 at 15:51:53 (PST)
I am very interested in misconceptions in science, especially those tipically held by elementary school students and their teachers. Could you be more specific about friction. You mentioned the misconception that it always impedes motion could you please elaborate. Thanks
Noreene Chen <noreenetcatmsncom>
Denver, CO USA - Wednesday, January 16, 2002 at 19:29:32 (PST)
Gee and all this time I thought I was stupid because alot of the experiments didn't make any sense in Science class. Kind of reminds me of all the BS they try tocome up with to try to "Get rid of God" when using so-called Evolution Theory (even attempted to be taught as a fact) instead of Creation Theory. It actually takes less 'faith' to believe in God than it does to believe in Evolution. It's about time someone started telling the truth!
Tim orgenson <timjor19atexcitecom>
Harrisburg, SD USA - Tuesday, January 15, 2002 at 08:30:45 (PST)
Re: "SOUND TRAVELS BETTER THROUGH SOLIDS? NO." The text needs to include the definition of word "better" in the sound travel context, otherwise it is vague: does it travels farther? sounds louder? dissipates less? or just faster?
Albert Greenbaum <albgratyahoocom>
Spring Valley, NY USA - Tuesday, January 15, 2002 at 05:57:01 (PST)
Great site. FYI, I learned of the site from the San Francisco Chronical in a column by Bob Morse. I plan on looking in on you often. Thanks.
Jim R <JAR49ER1atcscom>
Hayward, CA USA - Thursday, January 10, 2002 at 21:36:22 (PST)
Hi, I have few questions want to ask you after reading your point of view. You mentioned alot of times that Bernouli's Principles are WRONG to apply for the lift to the air-foil shape wings because the upper air and lower air don't rejoin at the trailing edge and you prove that in the air-tunnel pic. But in those pic, the air at the top does go FASTER than the air below, thus create the different pressures and push the wings up. So the wing can be lifted without the rejoint of the air. If the air-foil shape wings have NO effect to the lift of the plane, then why most of the real planes have curved wings rather than flat wings? And can we prove that by making a VERY long runway to see if the plane can really lift without raising its angle or angle of attack is 0. (since I saw the planes start off by tilting their noses upward). Please if you can, email your reply to my email as well: douLIKEbasketathotmailcom
Canada - Friday, January 04, 2002 at 18:51:22 (PST)