This paper reveals the roots of one of the most persistent science misconceptions regarding the flow of energy and matter in ecosystems. The misconception that the O2 released during photosynthesis originates from the CO2 absorbed is rooted in the intuitive beliefs of R. Feynman, a Nobel Prize laureate. Feynman (1988) stated that, "the sun is doing the work of separating the oxygen away from the carbon," and "pushing the oxygen away from the carbon." The scientific consensus is that during photosynthesis, the oxygen released is actually derived from the water molecules, not the carbon dioxide. Feynman's Nobel Prize led some media outlets to erroneously conflate his authority in physics with expertise in science education teaching and promoted the misconception via supporting Feynman's statements that amount to pseudoscience. Consequently, the misconception was implemented as a benchmark in "Atlas, Project 2061," a trusted national educational resource (AAAS, 2001). Said and Martin-Hansen (2019) presented evidence that the 9-12 benchmark, "Plants alter earth's atmosphere by removing carbon dioxide from it, using the carbon to make sugars and releasing oxygen" hamper students' understanding of the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in ecosystems. Currently, the Atlas' benchmarks are adopted in many educational districts, and are taught in many high schools nationwide. As the 9-12 misconceptions are left unchallenged, they're carried onwards to universities, to those who pursue science education and become pre-service, and graduate as science teachers themselves. This paper attempts to disrupt this cycle, suggesting simple, clear, and correct K-12 lesson plans to clarify the flow of energy and matter during photosynthesis. The paper suggests that teaching the history of the misconception is used as a vehicle for overcoming such pseudoscience and encouraging the role of students as active participants in the learning process.

This document is currently not available here.