Electricity mistakes and 'nitpicking'
How SHOULD we teach Electricity?
My encounters with elementary-school electricity, and how I started my "electricity debunking" articles.
The Electricity Map
If Voltage is
Which way does
What Is Charge?
Even if we stop asking about "electricity," we still must ask about
What Is Energy?
Even if "electricity" isn't a form of energy, WHAT IS ENERGY? Is it like
a substance, or is it just an abstract concept?
Sparks and Lighting
How is "static"
different from "current?"
How is "current"
different from "net charge?"
Can current stay constant, yet voltage reverses?
Tesla's Big Mistake
When currents DON'T shock
How should we
Why "Electricity" is
Impossible to Understand
Electricity educational links collection
LOOKING FOR BOOKS? Try searching amazon.com:
Build These Electrical DevicesStatic Electricity Projects, all the High Voltage, low-current stuff in one place.
Spin some copper pipe-caps in mercury pools. Create huge electric currents.
Plasma Globe with no vacuum
pump The Radio Shack "Eye of the Storm" device would be REALLY
impressive if it didn't need that glass globe...
Your own picoammeter.
If you already have a digital voltmeter, use it in heretical fashion:
as a nano-amp meter, even measure picoamps.
Ball Lightning plasma in your microwave oven
sensitive charge detector
The Duluc Drypile
with a big capacitor bank
High Powered Ultrasound
Shatters water into a fine mist. Collect some in a bowl. Probe it with
high voltage, see what happens.
made from plastic pop bottles.
GENERATOR, a simple one
electrostatic device construction
Incredibly easy way to
make a 100-amp cable.
Around the world, the physics teachers look at this and say
of electrostatic wind
device makes e-fields visible
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BOOKSBooks, but also one website. Paul F's circuit simulator does what I've always dreamed about: uses the "charge flow" concept to animate a complex circuit without needing any hardware. The slow charges move along, and the wires' surface charge appears as changing red and green!
Paul Falstad's Java circuit simulator
Since the 1980s, K12 textbook offerings have been improving. When I first started these articles in 1986 I could find no text that wasn't choked with mistakes and misleading concepts. But during the time I lectured on the problem to teachers in MA, the late Dr. Mel Steinberg at Smith College (also in MA) was working on a solution: Genecon generators and supercapacitors. His C.A.S.T.L.E. highschool curriculum, Capacitor-aided System for Teaching and Learning Electricity, is designed to directly attack typical student misconceptions in electricity.
C.A.S.T.L.E Project (also kit of parts)
Electricity and Magnetism ( also teacher's ed)
Electrical Energy and Circuit Design
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