The truth about cats, dogs and fridges

14th January 2000 at 00:00
TREES make the wind by waving their branches. Cats and dogs only eat food out of tins. Tall people are always older than short people and plants grow best in the fridge because it is always light in there.

These are just some of the misconceptions which confuse thousands of primary-school pupils each year, according to an analysis by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Town-bred children have particular problems understanding some natural phenomena, teachers found. Many have never experienced total darkness - telling teachers they can see in the dark because street lights light up their room when they are in bed.

Some also believe that their pets only eat food out of tins and eed to be taught that some can hunt for their own food.

These common misunderstandings appear in the QCA's new primary schemes of work which highlight pupils' potential problems in the national tests so that teachers can overcome them.

Many children were convinced that the Sun moves across the sky in one direction one day before moving back the next.

Others believe that they can see because light travels from their eyes in Superman-like rays, rather than that light enters their eyes.

Officials highlighted the common mistakes during classroom visits for national-test development and analysing pupils' test answers.

Association of Science

Education conference, 8

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