Reflection: Accountability Conductors and Insulators - Section 2: Independent Practice


In this task. students use common objects in a circuit tester to determine whether the object is a conductor or insulator. The students record their results independently or in small groups. The lab includes several objects for which the students may find conflicting results. The pipe cleaner and pencil both can be recorded as conductors or insulators depending on where the student touches the wires to the object. For example, the metal wire in the piper cleaner conducts electricity, but the soft material on the outside does not.  Likewise, the graphite in the pencil will conduct electricity, while the wood surrounding it will not. I utilize this conflicting data to discuss the importance of academic honesty and the value of unexpected data. First, I discuss with students that it is critical that they report all scientific results; even those which conflict with their hypothesis. It is only through honest reporting that science can progress. Secondly, I talk with students about the value of conflicting data. I point out that when our class finds contradictory results, it gives us all an opportunity to examine the reasons why this might have occurred. In this lesson, I often have students demonstrate how they got their results by using the materials under the document camera. This highlights to students that it is possible that both groups got valid results and that accurate recording of data can lead to deeper understanding.

  Dealing With Conflicting Data
  Accountability: Dealing With Conflicting Data
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Conductors and Insulators

Unit 2: Electricity
Lesson 5 of 11

Objective: SWBAT identify conductors and insulators using a circuit tester.

Big Idea: Some objects are conductors of electrical current and other objects do not allow the flow of electrical current.

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