Detecting Gravity-Related Misconceptions of First Year Medical Students Using the Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory

Hisham Bani-Salameh*  -  King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia

(*) Corresponding Author

Misconceptions create their problems and must be clarified. One of the misconceptions that often arises is the concept of Newtonian gravity. In this report, we discuss first-year medical students’ understanding of the concept of gravity examined using the Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory (NGCI). Four domains of the concept of gravity are covered by the NGCI utilizing 26 multiple-choice questions: Directionality, Gravity as a force, Independence from other forces, and threshold. One of the goals of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of our teaching materials and methods. Therefore, the test was given to students twice as a pre and post-test relative to in-class gravity-related instructions. In this article, we’re reporting on gravity-related misconceptions found with our students in the pre-test only. 511 students participated in the test with a recorded average score of 39.9%. We documented a complete list of misconceptions with eleven dominant ones found in the pre-test: Gravity is affected by magnetism, Gravity is affected by objects’ density, misconceptions related to the dependence of the force of gravity on the distance, and more.

Keywords: Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory; Misconceptions of Gravity; Physics Misconception of Medical Students

  1. Bani-Salameh, H.N. (2017). Using the Method of Dominant Incorrect Answers with the FCI Test to Diagnose Misconceptions Held by First Year College Student. Phys. Educ. 52.
  2. Bani-Salameh, H.N. (2017). How Persistent are the Misconceptions About Force and Motion Held by College Students. Phys. Educ. 52.
  3. Bani-Salameh, H.N. (2017). Teaching Language Effects on Student׳ Performance. Health Professions Education, 4 (1): 27-30 http: //
  4. Bani-Salameh, H.N., Nuseirat, M., & Alkofahi, K.A. (2017). Performance Gap Among Male And Female College Students Measured With The Force Concept Inventory. IOSR Journal of Applied Physics, 9 (1): 11-13.
  5. Bani-Salameh, H.N., Nuseirat, M., & Alkofahi, K.A. (2017). Do First Year College Female and Male Students Hold Different Misconceptions About Force and Motion?. IOSR Journal of Applied Physics, 9 (2): 14-18.
  6. Bani-Salameh, H.N. (2022). Investigating the Applicability of the Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory to First Year College Students. International Journal of Education, 13(4).
  7. Ding, L. & Beichner, R. (2009). Approaches To Data Analysis Of Multiple-Choice Questions. Phys. Rev. ST–Phys. Educ. Res. 5 : 1–17.
  8. Smith, C. L., & Treagust, D. F. (1988). Not Understanding Gravity Limits Students’ Comprehension of Astronomy Concepts. The Australian Science Teachers’ Journal, 33.
  9. Williamson, K. & Willoughby, S. (2012). Student Understanding of Gravity in Introductory College Astronomy. Astronomy Education Review, 11(1).
  10. Williamson, K., Willoughby, S. & Prather, E. (2013). Development of the Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory. Astronomy Education Review, 12(1).
  11. Williamson, K. (2013). Development and Calibration of a Concept Inventory to Measure Introductory College Astronomy and Physics Students’ Understanding of Newtonian Gravity. Doctoral Thesis, Montana State University.
  12. Williamson, K., Prather, E. & Willoughby. (2016). Applicability of the Newtonian Gravity Concept Inventory to Introductory College Physics Classes. American Journal of Physics 84, 458. doi: 10.1119/1.4945347.

Open Access Copyright (c) 2023 Physics Education Research Journal
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.