Using analogy to overcome misconceptions about conservation of matter

Ruth Stavy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new approach to change misconceptions of students is to build on ideas which match their students' existing intuitive knowledge. This can be done by analogy. The use of an analogical relation between the known and the unknown can help students learn new information and discard or modify misconceptions. Previous studies have confirmed this result in such areas as mathematics. The present study examined the use of analogical instruction to overcome misconceptions about conservation of matter. Students who understood the concept of conservation of matter when iodine was evaporated were able to transfer their understanding to the evaporation of acetone. This indicates that teaching by analogy can be an effective tool in science. The author is now studying the relative effectiveness of conflict training and learning by analogy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1991


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