Many students explain thermal expansion in terms of increased particle size

Energy and Thermal Physics


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

  • Model of expanding liquids and gases (11-16)

    Students use marbles in a tray to model the expansion of liquids and gases.

    View Resource


  • Lubben, F.; Netshisaulu, T. and Campbell, B. () Students' use of cultural metaphors and their scientific understandings related to heating, Science Education, 83, (6), 761-774.

    In this study, South African researchers explored 147 students’ use of cultural metaphoric reasoning in classifying everyday situations as hot or cold, as is part of Sotho cultural tradition, and how this develops misconceptions of heating.

    Paper digest

  • Jasien, P. G. () Roles of Terminology, Experience and Energy Concepts in Student Conceptions of Freezing and Boiling. Journal of Chemical Education, 90, 1609-1615.

    Researchers analyse student conceptions of solid-liquid and liquid-vapour phase transitions using data from 117 undergraduate chemistry students, using data from open-ended, short-answer questions. The collected responses offer insights into students' understanding of these phase changes.

    Paper digest

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