The study of alternative or common misconceptions is an active educational research field (Confrey 1990). I have been paying more attention to it in my second grade robotics unit this year which focuses on gears and pulleys. One the of gear projects is a spinning top (and a handle that spins the top) made out of LEGOs. I found some interesting student conceptions this year for tops.
- The tops stays up by moving the air underneath the top, like a helicopter.
- The top stays up from gravity.
- The gears on the top (which change in size) cause the top to stay up longer (or shorter). [Actually, it is due to the gear rations involved.]
- Tops are a kind of BeyBlade.