Some students think that metals are good insulators

Energy and Thermal Physics

Misconception TEACHER COMMUNITY

This idea that metals are poor conductors or good insulators likely comes from their everyday life experience of using insulated (vacuum) water bottles which are made from metal, arising from a fairly recent trend. 

Image of the trendy metal water bottles people are using today

Resources to Address This

  • This demonstration shows, against the student's intuition, that an ice cube melts more quickly when in contact with a metal block than a plastic block.

    You can use this demo to show students that metals are in fact good conductors.

    View Resource

This misconception was submitted by the teaching community

2023 IOP Awards

Teachers of Physics Awards

Recognising and celebrating outstanding contributions to the field of physics education.

Learn more