Some students believe light helps, but is not necessary for vision.
Students sometimes believe it is possible for (all/some) people to see in pitch darkness (an idea more prevalent among city dwellers than the country) or cats to see in pitch darkness.
Resources to Address This
Totally in the dark! (5-11 and 11-14)
Ref - SPT HS01 TA07 and Li01 TA01
This activity allows pupils to enter a completely dark space, something which very few are likely to have previously experienced. Once in this light-free space they will recognise that it is impossible to see anything around them.View Resource
The following studies have documented this misconception:
- Fetherstonhaugh, T. and Treagust, D. F. () Students’ Understanding of Light and Its Properties: Teaching to Engender Conceptual Change. Science Education, 76 (6),
- Ramadas, J. and Driver, R. () Aspects of secondary students' ideas about light. CLIS - Children's Learning in Science Project, University of Leeds Centre for Studies in Science & Mathematics Education.