Whitney Wyman

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Recent Reviews by Whitney

Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:46 AM
5 Effects on Elementary School Teachers- An Excellent Resource
This article provides very simple yet informative ways of teaching elementary students about the concept of static electricity. This article is geared toward elementary school teachers, particularly those who teach students at the age it is appropriate to begin learning about static electricity. The article provides the reader with general background knowledge and the context needed to understand the effects of static electricity. Students at the elementary level only need to understand and know the basic concepts and ideas behind its effects, and this article articulates a few simple ways to explore. Using basic materials such as balloons, soda cans, PVC pipe, and even tinsel, tissue paper, and Styrofoam, allow students to physically see the effects of static electricity. The hands-on delivery of a lesson utilizing these materials will allow for better student understanding. The author, Matt Bobrowsky, breaks down the use of each material into steps, and provides the reader with appropriate background knowledge to effectively teach the overall concept. He uses appropriate terms and explanations for the elementary level, while also pertaining to the “teacher reader.” For example, he breaks down the process of using balloons to portray the effects of static electricity: rubbing two balloons against the hair of two different students will create electric charges. If these balloons are held next to each other (strings attached), they should move apart. Bobrowsky makes it clear that science is all about observing and explaining observations, so allowing students the opportunity to explain what they see (without being provided the content knowledge first) is essential to student learning and understanding. Once students can explain their observations, then the teacher can then jump in and explain the phenomena. (i.e., the balloons become electrically charged while being rubbed against hair. The balloons will have the same charge, and considering knowledge about the attraction of charges, the balloons will repel each other because of that. After some time, the balloons will lose their charges because the extra electrons “leak off” into the air. This will allow the balloons to move closer together.) Bobrowsky also connects the concepts and effects of static electricity to the real world. This is important for elementary school teachers to consider because younger students rely greatly on background knowledge or ideas they can relate to. He uses the example of walking across a carpet then touching a doorknob. Most (if not all) students should be able to recall a time where they have been shocked by a doorknob. He explains that if they have walked across a carpet wearing shoes or socks, electrons have been transferred from the carpet to their bodies which builds up a negative charge. Once they touch a doorknob, those charges will jump directly to the metal, causing the shock. Students can also consider this “shock” as a mini-lightning bolt. The reader should take note that the underlying concepts of static electricity will be explained differently depending on the grade level standards and expectations. Overall, this article is a well-thought out and reliable resource for elementary school teachers. It is a perfect breakdown of static electricity, and it provides readers with adequate knowledge to teach the concept. The processes can be broken down into to simpler steps or lessons for the early elementary grades while still providing teachers the essential background information to understand the processes themselves.