Many students believe that light can travel further at night than in the daylight.

Light, Sound and Waves


Diagnostic Resources

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

  • How far can light travel?  (5-11)

    Ref - SPT HS01 TL03

    Although the spreading and scattering of light are not referred to in all curricula, they are certainly necessary to offer any kind of plausible explanation for the relatively short range of a torch beam. One teaching colleague regales his pupils with the mantra:

    Teacher: Light doesn't run out, it spreads out!

    View Resource
  • How far can light travel?  (11-14)

    Ref - SPT Li01 PN06

    This is the same resource as the 5-11 example, but with more additional approaches.

    View Resource


The following studies have documented this misconception:

  • Osbourne, J., Black, P., Smith, M., and Meadows, J. () Primary SPACE project - light. Liverpool University Press.

    Review sheet

IOP DOMAINS Physics CPD programme

Electricity CPD videos

Our new set of videos gives teachers and coaches of physics a preview of the training we offer ahead of this term's live support sessions.

Find out more