Some pupils think that there is air between air molecules

Properties of Matter


Some students think that between the molecules of a substance, the same substance exists. For instance, there is air between air molecules, water between water molecules, and rock between rock molecules.

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.


  • Lee, O., Eichinger, D. C., Anderson, C. W, Berkheimer, G. D. and Blakeslee, T. D., () Changing Middle School Students’ Conceptions of Matter and Molecules, Journal of research in science teaching, 30 (3)


    Review sheet

  • Talanquer, V. () On Cognitive Constraints and Learning Progressions: The case of ''structure of matter'', International Journal of Science Education, 31 (15)


    Review sheet

  • Andersson, B., () Pupils' Conceptions of Matter and its Transformations (age 12-16), Studies in Science Education, 18,


    Review sheet

  • Adadan, E., Irving, K. E. and Trundle, K. C., () Impacts of Multi-representational Instruction on High School Students' Conceptual Understandings of the Particulate Nature of Matter, International Journal of Science Education, 31 (13)


    Review sheet

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