Physical Science

Biggest student misconceptions in physics

Hi all- 

Those who have experience teaching physics, what have you found to be the biggest misconceptions students have either coming into the classroom or ones that they formed unintentionally throughout your lessons?

Ryan Cully
Ryan Cully
363 Activity Points

Excellent question!

I have taught physics for three years now, and one of the biggest misconceptions is that an object at rest stays at rest because there are NO forces acting on it, or so students claim. For example, a calculator will not move off of a desk unless a NET force is applied. However, students come in believing there are no forces acting on it. When in reality, there is the force of gravity pushing down and the normal force from the desk pushing back up. Hence, the forces cancel out and a zero net force results. So often they fail to realize there are forces present. Hope this answers your question. 



Tyler Dufrene
Tyler Dufrene
380 Activity Points

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