Moon Misconceptions: Bringing pedagogical research of lunar phases into the classroomby: Ronald Hermann and Bradford F. Lewis

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Pedagogical research gives a three-step teaching strategy to address misconceptions—identify, overturn, and then replace with a scientific conception. Moon phases is one of the most common and persistent misconceptions among science students. This lesson is designed to improve teaching and help students better understand lunar phases.

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  • on Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:04 PM

This article explains how a simple 4-question quiz is used as a pre- and post-assessment tool. It is used to show that even after reteaching concepts about the phases of the Moon, high school students may still have deeply held misconceptions about the Moon and how it revolves and rotates. If your goal is to provide the best lessons possible, the results of this action research project will open your eyes as to how important it is to reflect on lessons and use test results to help analyze how your students understand the concepts you are trying to teach them. Providing students with an alternative way to visualize how the arrangement of the Earth, Sun and Moon cause each lunar phase was a needed lesson addition in order to help these authors’ students confront their misconceptions and replace them with accurate information. I have used this 4-question pre-assessment with my pre-service teachers; it helped them to address any Moon misconceptions they might still be harboring. Taking the quiz before reading the correct responses in the article is a way to make sure one has a clear understanding of what causes the Moon phases.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

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