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Teaching circuits / electricity

Discussion in 'Science' started by Teslasmate, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. Teslasmate

    Teslasmate Occasional commenter


    This teacher is absolutely right, electricity is a pain to teach. The circuits have too many things to go wrong (flat cells, cells in opposition in a battery, broken wire, poor connection etc etc). This is not helped by budget cuts and lack of investment in decent kit (the poor quality of modern kit doesn't help either). I also agree that it's intellectually difficult. Abstract. Non observable.
    However, there also appears to be a very strong trend amongst less...engaged pupils to dismiss electricity. It is miraculous in its effects on their lives. Especially if you include the effect of microelectronics. Yet they think the internet is normal. TV and radio just sort of appear out of nowhere. A washing machine isn't an astonishing feat of labour saving engineering, it's just a boring box that lives in their kitchen.
    Maybe to get pupils to really appreciate electricity, lets shuffle them all off to 14th Century bootcamp for a week. Then they'd notice how amazing the modern world is.
  2. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Another problem is the kids cannot transpose lovely square circuit diagrams into circuits with wiggly wires (and vice versa). At my last school we still used Worcester Circuit boards which although very old (OFSTED described them in one report as 'treasured')! at least looked like the diagrams on the board. We also invested in a load of unilab stuff mainly because it was used in the photographs in the textbooks we were using but it rarely worked. Doing big demos using 12V circuits will usually give decent results. Push all the tables together to make one big 'banquet' type table then build the circuit on it with every kid responsible for a different part. Also a great way to demonstrate how a fuse works by adding more lamps in parallel until the thin bit of bare wire suspended between two clamp stands gets so hot it will set fire to paper before itself melting.
    JohnJCazorla, topquark and Teslasmate like this.
  3. Teslasmate

    Teslasmate Occasional commenter

    Love the big circuit idea, I shall steal it immediately :)
    blazer likes this.
  4. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    You're welcome. You can 'grow' the circuit as the lesson goes on with ammeters and voltmeters at appropriate places. Then they can draw each circuit out, add in the readings and make their conclusions from them.
  5. topquark

    topquark New commenter

    If all the batteries are flat or leaking, bulbs all blown, multimeter fuses fried, crocodile clips falling off, leads tangled up, only 1V bulbs left available and the lab technician is on sick leave, the PhET circuit simulation can come in pretty handy.
    armandine2 likes this.
  6. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I'd never be that desperate!;) Although I do recall a circuit builder programme that used to run on the BBC micro computers we had.
  7. Orion

    Orion New commenter

    Start with Charge and work your way up to current flow, and PD. Then it is a plain sailing! :)

    However the so called expert panel decided to remove charge from double award, what a bunch of fools. Make a tricky subject even harder!

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