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ERIC Number: EJ1195961
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-9120
Switched On! Student and Teacher Engagement in an Electricity Practical
Kota, Srividya Durga; Cornish, Scott; Sharma, Manjula Devi
Physics Education, v54 n1 Article 015007 Jan 2019
Electricity is taught in junior high school science in Australia and many other countries. While electricity is all around us and one would say that its context and relevance are obvious, students generally do not find learning about electricity engaging. The objective of this paper is to describe the development and evaluation of an open inquiry investigation on electrical power intended to engage students. Using design-based research methodology, three trials were run. The evaluation from trial 1 showed that while teachers engaged and were enthusiastic about the investigation, students were less so. The investigation was modified in two ways for trial 2. The first modification was the introduction of two parts, where Part A guided the students and Part B was open inquiry. The second modification was to integrate digital technologies, in the form of a spreadsheet, into the investigation. The power consumption and estimated amount of time an appliance is likely to be used were entered into the spreadsheet to obtain the cost of using a particular appliance. In trial 2, both the teachers and students engaged with the investigation. Trial 3 consolidated the findings of trial 2. The lesson here is that students are prone to follow algorithms without investing adequate mental effort in topics such as electricity, oblivious to the obvious relevance of the topic. Creative ways of engaging students need to be researched. In this study we found that the integration of open inquiry with digital technologies is a viable solution. Whether this approach reaps similar benefits in other topics needs to be investigated.
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: Junior High Schools; Secondary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia