Reflection: Cycles of Inquiry Electricity - A Brief History - Section 2: Guided Investigation


I chose puzzle pieces for a very specific reason here. History is a puzzle, or even a mosaic, of different information that is pieced together to make a story line. We talk about this at the beginning of the year in Social Studies. We do a lesson called, "Who's Voice Is Heard?" Students write their version of their first week of school experience. It should be relatively the same for everyone in the room. However, different people focus on different events or feel differently about those events. I take in all these accounts and make photocopies of them. 

For the next lesson I have a pail of water, a box of matches and a can, a fan, a shredder, and a Male/Female sign. I hand back the original writings to students. Each student comes up and rolls a die.

1 = flood damage. I douse the paper in the pail of water.

2 = fire damage. I burn the paper and place it in the can to burn.

3 = hurricane damage. I tear up the paper and let it blow away in the fan breeze.

4 = tornado damage. I shred the paper.

5 = If you are female I destroy your paper.

6 = your paper is saved for future use in writing history.

At the end of this exercise, we only have three or four accounts left. I read them aloud and ask students if this is representative of their first week experience. It is not! We talk about how history is a series of account by those who recorded events, mostly men. This means that history is skewed and it is even more skewed when information comes second and third hand.

It is for this reason that I use the puzzle pieces to remind students that the history of electricity is but a mosaic of information and does not complete the puzzle, but merely grows our understanding of the concepts.

  Why Puzzle Pieces?
  Cycles of Inquiry: Why Puzzle Pieces?
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Electricity - A Brief History

Unit 9: Energy is Electric!
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: Students will learn about the people and events that resulted in the discovery and implementation of electricity.

Big Idea: Students will understand who was influential in discovering electricity and how it was mandated for all Americans.

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Science, Electricity, history, Cooperative lea
  61 minutes
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