Physical Science

Electromagnetism for high school

How can we make students understand electromagnetism concepts? e.g. when I asked a class how a fan works, student answer was "switch it on". On probing deeper, the answer was "there is a motor and current makes it work". I want learners to be able to understand fields, magnetism and the concept of "action at a distance" which is not there in mechanics. One approach I am toying with is an app which allows virtual experiments.

Sridhar Sundaram
Sridhar Sundaram
140 Activity Points

The response from your high school students is one I have heard before.  It is extremely important to begin students as early as preschool thinking and processing questions of that nature and build the depth as they mature.  For current high school students, virtual labs and brainstorming activities assist some as well.

Danielle Moore
Danielle Moore
1770 Activity Points

Have you tried the phet simulations?  They add more and more all the time.  There are also plenty of teacher resources for each simulation.  Many take the simulation from different angles.  Very helpful.  I really like the circuit one. 

Bridget Warnke
Bridget Dontz
425 Activity Points

Why limit yourself to the virtual world? There are some excellent activities relating to electromagnetism, electromagnetic induction, etc., in the activity guides at the THEMIS-ARTEMIS mission website: http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/artemis/epo-classroom.html

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

Great resource. Local colleges and universities  may also have demonstration events students can attend 

Danielle Moore
Danielle Moore
1770 Activity Points

thanks - Loved the jumprope and aluminum can experiments there. Can students correlate these to motors and fans? We need an experiment showing "motor" effects.

Sridhar Sundaram
Sridhar Sundaram
140 Activity Points

Some students do make the connection to motors and ask questions about that. You could also add on a simple activity to build an electric motor. I have used this design in the past at the camp I work for in the summer: http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/no-frills-motor/ The spinning can and jump rope generator are 2 of my favorites!

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

Another very simple motor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSPFwibREUg Also this app looks promising: www.mazalearn.com

Sridhar Sundaram
Sridhar Sundaram
140 Activity Points

I think part of what helps students learn is how excited they are about the concept. To engage my students with the idea of electromagnetism, I asked them to investigate how mag-lev trains work. To understand, they needed to develop an understanding of electromagnetism. This made the more ready to create a deeper understanding of the concept. 

Monica Pelayo
Monica Pelayo
305 Activity Points

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