Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


Faculty of Education

First Supervisor

Dr J. C. Happs

Second Supervisor

Dr Mark Hackling


This research examines misconceptions about light held by Year 7 primary school students. The subjects (n = 37) were selected from six schools in the northeastern area of Perth, Western Australia. An Interview About Instances approach was used in this research using instance cards specifically designed for this study. Misconceptions were ascertained and those held by 25% or more of the students were considered significant. Misconceptions were found in the understanding of the physical and the physiological process of sight, the relationship of light to colour, night vision in animals and the distance light travels under different circumstances. The misconceptions held by Year 7 students in this study were similar to those found in United States primary school students (Eaton, Anderson & Smith, 1984) and Western Australian secondary school students (Fetherstonhaugh, 1987). Implications for teaching, teacher instruction and curriculum review are discussed and suggestions made future research.