Many students think of temperature as a measure of the amount of heat an object contains, and that the temperature of objects is related to their size

Energy and Thermal Physics

Misconception RESEARCH REVIEW

For example, the temperature of a large block of ice is lower than that of a smaller block.

The effect of size or mass can be illustrated by heating two different amounts of water with the same setting on the bunsen burner, and observing the change in temperature.

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

  • Temperature and particles related to energy (11-14)

    Ref - SPT En05 PN02

    • Temperature is termed an intensive quality since it does not depend upon the number of particles (or mass of substance) present.
    • Thermal energy is an extensive quantity since it depends upon the number of particles (or mass of substance) present.
    View Resource

References

  • Baser, M. and Geban, O. () Effectiveness of conceptual change instruction on understanding of heat and temperature concepts. Research in Science and Technological Education, 25, (1)

    115-133.

    Review sheet

  • Pathare, S.; Huli, S.; Nachane, M.; Ladage, S. and Pradhan, H. () Understanding thermal equilibrium through activities. Physics Education, 50, (2)

    146-158.

    Review sheet

  • Thomas, M. F.; Malaquias, I. M.; Valente, M. C. and Antunes, M. J. () An attempt to overcome alternative conceptions related to heat and temperature. Physics Education, 30 (1)

    19-26.

    Review sheet

  • Wiser, M. () Use of History of Science to Understand and Remedy Students' Misconceptions About Heat and Temperature. In David N. Perkins, Judah L. Schwartz, Mary Maxwell West, and Martha Stone Wiske (Eds), Software Goes to School: Teaching for Understanding with New Technologies, Oxford University Press, New York.

    Review sheet

  • M. Louisa, F. C. S. Veiga, D. J. V. Costa Pereira and R. Maskill () Teachers' language and pupils' ideas in science lessons: Can teachers avoid reinforcing wrong ideas? International Journal of Science Education, 11, (4)

    465-479.

    Review sheet

  • Paik, S.H., Cho, B.K. and Go Y.-M. () Korean 4- to 11-Year-Old Student Conceptions of Heat and Temperature. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44, (2), published online in Wiley Interscience (www.interscience.wiley.com),

    284–302.

    Review sheet

  • Geourgiou, H. and Sharma, M.D. () University students understanding of Thermal Physics in everyday contexts. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 10,

    1119-1142.

    Review sheet

  • Kesidou, S. and Duit, R. () Students' Conceptions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics- An Interpretive Study. Journal Of Research In Science Teaching, 30, (1)

    85-106.

    Review sheet

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