Tried and True: Making the connection—Addressing students’ misconceptions of circuitsby: Patrick L. Brown, James P. Concannon, and Enrique M. Pareja

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Electricity is an abstract phenomenon that students interact with every day. Interestingly enough, many eighth-grade students do not fully understand the requirements for a complete circuit. In an effort to "short-circuit" misunderstandings, the circuits unit described here was developed in a 5E instructional model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) of inquiry to help students build on their prior ideas with new experiences and understanding. The primary goal for this lesson is to address the misconception that no matter where the battery and bulb are connected, a complete circuit is made (Stepans 1996).

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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:38 AM

This article is one of the best write ups I have seen about lighting a flashlight bulb with one wire and a battery. It has excellent pictures and explanations.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:34 AM

In an attempt to dismiss student misconceptions about electricity students engage in a 5E lesson about simple electrical circuits. This 5E lesson helps students understand open and closed circuits and uses common household objects to help them apply what they have learned to the real-world. This is a well designed student inquiry activity.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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