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ERIC Number: EJ1003252
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 1
ISSN: ISSN-0031-9120
Energy, Systems and Connectors; or Why Electrons Don't Carry Energy from Batteries to Bulbs
Scaife, Jon
Physics Education, v47 n6 p760-763 Nov 2012
A common approach when teaching about energy in circuits in secondary schools is to treat flowing electrons as carriers of energy from a source to a sink. The paper argues that although this may seem to be a useful model for teaching, it is unscientific and may ultimately be confusing to students who continue to adopt it at key stage 4 and above. A "system view" is suggested as an alternative, in which some parts of the system play the role of connectors, not carriers. Parallels are drawn with mechanical systems. A teaching approach that uses a system view of circuits is recommended because it is both scientifically sound and pedagogically powerful. (Contains 3 figures.)
Institute of Physics Publishing. The Public Ledger Building Suite 929, 150 South Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 215-627-0880; Fax: 215-627-0879; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A