Some students believe a lens will not form an image if it is not whole.

Light, Sound and Waves


Resources to Address This

  • Thinking about actions to take: Seeing With Light  (11-14)

    Ref - SPT Li03TL06

    This resource highlights a number of Teaching and Learning issues, such as --

    exploring the phenomenon of refraction through many different examples.

    Make sure the examples include a wide range of different lenses, especially some that are not whole.

    View Resource


The following studies have documented this misconception:

  • Kaltakci-Gurel, D., Eryilmaz, A. & McDermott, L. C. () Development and application of a four-tier test to assess pre-service physics teachers’ misconceptions about geometrical optics. Research in Science & Technological Education, 35 (2),


    Review sheet

  • Bryan, J. A. and Slough, S. W. () Converging lens simulation design and image predictions, Physics Education, 44 (3),

    Review sheet

  • Fetherstonhaugh, T. and Treagust, D. F. () Students’ Understanding of Light and Its Properties: Teaching to Engender Conceptual Change. Science Education, 76 (6),


    Review sheet

IOP DOMAINS Physics CPD programme

New videos on forces

Our first collection 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