Day 64: First Real Day of Electric Circuits

We really got to play with circuits today. We started by making sure we knew what every component was in our CASTLE bag. We're using the Modeling Instruction modified CASTLE worksheets with the V, which I love. (I don't know who created them, but thank you!) We started with a simple building of a circuit, and then we tested different items around the room. One group tested water to see whether it could complete the circuit. Then we looked at how light bulb sockets and light bulbs work, and I got to do my favorite electricity demonstration with a household light bulb and a lot of D-cell batteries. You can light the lightbulb if you string enough D-cell batteries together! But what if the filament isn't under the glass bulb...

We talked a little bit about how the compass works to show charge flow. I appealed to our understanding of volume flow rate because we have just finished the fluid model. I don't want to lean on the fluid model too much, but it helped make clear why the flow would be the same everywhere in the circuit and why the flow would start all at the same time.

Day 63: Finishing Fluid Mechanics & Starting CASTLE

We worked on some more examples of fluid mechanics, but it wasn't that groundbreaking. I let them practice how they needed to practice, which, for most of them, was alone. 

We then moved on to the beginning of electricity. In previous years, I started with electrostatics, but I wanted to go right into electric circuits this year. I feel it's more understandable and there are many more labs for electricity. We started with a great lab based off of The Private Universe video, which was made by my science methods professor from grad school. I ask them two questions: "Why are there seasons?" and "Given a lightbulb, battery, and wire, draw how you'd light a light bulb." Then I have them try it with a lightbulb, a battery, and an unbent paperclip. Many hot paperclips ensue until everyone in the class can find all the ways you can light a lightbulb with just one wire and one battery.