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Abstract Title: Constructing particle-level models to promote macro-level conceptualization of electric circuits in middle school
Abstract: Electricity is the main form of energy transfer and use in the 21st century, and its understanding is of central importance. We describe how 8th grade students learn the physics of electric circuits through building computational particle models of conductors. The gradual construction of the computational particle model of the conductor, embodies the conceptualization of repulsion between free electrons, the push of the electric field, and the hindrance of the stationary ions. Comparing Pre/Post questionnaire data with a control group, shows that building the model is a sound basis for macro-level understanding of electric dynamics. Qualitative analyses highlight how creative activities such as drawing the conductor's boundary and spreading electrons in it, complement observing the working model and discussing its' mechanism in the classroom. Drawing on constructivist and grounded theories of learning, we discuss how constructing models and making conceptual micro-macro connections results in meaningful learning of this difficult topic.
Abstract Type: Juried Talk
Parallel Session: Juried Talks I

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Elon Langbeheim
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Jerusalem, Non U.S. 9010201
Phone: 0545990331
and Co-Presenter(s)
Janan Saba, University of Haifa, Israel
Sharona, T Levy, University of Haifa, Israel