Many students believe light bounces off mirrors, but not off other objects.
Stories from Physics
The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception.
For more information, see the University of York BEST website.
Resources to Address This
Reflection of light (5-11)
Ref - SPT HS01 PN06
Light beams are reflected from surfaces according to the law of reflection, which states that 'the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection'. This activity concentrates on mirrors.
The ideas are extended to other objects in the next activity.View Resource
Not just mirrors (11-14)
Ref - SPT Li03PN04
This takes the idea of reflection further and applies to objects that are not mirrors.View Resource
- Wenham, E. J. and Guesne, E. () The Place of Optics in Physics Teaching - Children's Ideas about Light. New Trends in Physics Teaching, IV,
- Eaton, J., Anderson, C.W. and Smith, E.L. () Students' misconceptions interfere with learning: case studies of fifth-grade students. Research Series 128, The Institute for Research on Teaching, Michigan State University.