Some students believe light has different modes or kinds and sometimes even that these different 'kinds' of light in different circumstances can behave differently.
For example, some students do not consider light rays to be the same as 'ordinary light’; similarly they may distinguish light from a given source from 'daylight'. As a result students give differing explanations for how objects are visible in daylight to how they are visible under a lamp. Another example might be 'natural' or 'electric' light.
Resources to Address This
Noticing lights (5-11)
Ref - SPT HS01 Ta03
To bring to children's attention the range and variety of lights that can be seen in different places in their local environment. Emphasis the ways they all behave the same.View Resource
Survey: lighting at home (11-14)
Ref - SPT Li03 Ta03
This activity helps to make the link between studies of light at school and lighting in the home. It will provides lots of points of discussion relating to the pros and cons of different kinds of bulbs.View Resource
- Wenham, E. J and Guesne, E. () The Place of Optics in Physics Teaching - Children's Ideas about Light. New Trends in Physics Teaching, IV, Paris, UNESCO publication,
- Watts, D. M. () Student Conceptions of Light: A case study. Physics Education, 20, IOPScience,