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Earth - Solar Concepts

Initial perceptual naive misconceptions (any age)

Misconceptions (Explanations, Naive understanding, Misconceptions, or Perceptual responses)

Beginning (preschool - 7 years)


  1. Sun provides the Earth with light.

Intermediate (7 years - 11 years)


  1. The sun provides light and heat necessary to maintain the temperature of the earth.
  2. The sun is a major source of energy (light and heat) for changes on the Earth's surface.
  3. A tiny fraction of the sun's light is transferred to the Earth.

Literate (11+)


  1. The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the earth's surface, such as growth of plants, winds, weather, ocean currents, and the water cycle.
  2. The sun's energy arrives as light with a range of wavelengths, consisting of visible light, infrared, and ultraviolet radiation.


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes