Some students believe that all liquids contain water

Properties of Matter


Students may use the terms 'liquid' and 'water' synonymously, meaning that students may think of water as a 'prototype liquid', and use it to refer to liquids for lack of their having a more general concept of liquids. Alternatively, it may mean that they believe water is present in all liquids as a sort of essence of liquid-type properties, such as 'wetness'.

Additionally, some students think that any material melting into a transparent liquid is becoming water (e.g. melting candle wax).


  • Andersson, B., () Pupils' Conceptions of Matter and its Transformations (age 12-16), Studies in Science Education, 18, 53-85.

    This research shows that some of the misconceptions students have about matter are reinforced by the learning materials and approaches used in classrooms. Textbook illustrations can give false impressions about sizes, scales and movement and the limitations of models can give misleading ideas. This paper explains why teachers need to be aware of the misconceptions that can be produced and how to tackle some of them.

    Paper digest

  • Stavy, R., () Children's conception of changes in the state of matter: from liquid (or solid) to gas, Journal of research in science teaching, 27 (3) 247-266.

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