Lifelong Learning Programme

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Teaching Resources

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Anna Pavan
Istituto Comprensivo Savona IV - Savona
associated teacher
Balloons and static electricity + Circuits + John Travoltage (from PhET site)
Topics related to the resource
Electric charges: attraction and repulsion;
Static electricity;
Components of a circuit;
Electrical resistance.
Examples of learning objectives
The link between scientific experience and everyday life.
Static electricity: practical experiences by rubbing.
Electrical resistance in home devices (phones, ovens, etc.)
Practical information regarding the use
of the site/simulation...
Java is required to visualize simulations
Information about the class
Comprehensive Institute Savona IV-Legino. Lower secondary school, third year (13-14 years), 26 students.
Suggestion for use
The three simulations were used in order to integrate frontal lessons about electricity: electric charges in materials, static electricity and electricity associated to circuits.
- At first, by using the whiteboard (no computer lab was available), the teacher showed the collection of simulations available on PhET site and how to use them.
- Then, students were asked to explore PhET site, individually at home. Their task was to search and try simulations inherent to electricity and give an assessment about the possibility of using them to better understand the contents learned in class.
- The results of their work were discussed in class: some simulations were rejected because non clear for them or because the animation did not work. Three simulations were considered positively and used in class with the whiteboard:
- balloons and static electricity
- John Travoltage
- signal circuit
- Some experiments suggested by the simulations were performed also practically: teachers and students together planned the experiences to carry out and the needed materials were brought from home. Easy activities about static electricity were realized with balloons, wool, plastic, glass and other materials in order to confirm and deepen what showed by the simulation. A basic circuit was also built in class.
- As conclusion, students, divided in groups, summarized the performed work and drawn their conclusions writing a brief report.
- A short summary of the reports was produced as PPT presentation with the whiteboard and with the collaboration of the whole class (supporting info).
Insights into student
use / thinking
- They did not find difficulties in understanding the contents and in using the information to organize practical activities.
- They showed cooperative attitudes and initiative
Teacher’s conclusions
The resource provided interesting insights to undertake, with the lab approach, a path of observation about the concept of electricity. Moreover, simulations give the possibility of planning more interactive lessons, where the student has an active role and feels to be protagonist with the teacher and schoolmates.
The whiteboard support was very important to make the work easier and more interactive: simulations can be analyzed and used autonomously at home, but a work in class under the guidance of the teacher is fundamental to fix the concepts and avoid misconceptions.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.