Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Electrical Energy Matters - Section 3: Explore


To help my students develop a clear understanding of how electricity travels through materials, I decided to use models and manipulatives throughout this lesson. With an abstract concept such as electricity, using materials such as a battery for a power source, wires, light bulbs, and a variety of materials to use for investigating conductors and insulators, helps students interact with the concept.  I found using these materials were effective because it gave my students an opportunity to discover which materials allowed electricity to flow through them and which ones did not.  They experienced the concept rather than trying to understand it from reading text only. I found my students engaged throughout this lesson and the conversations between them were ongoing. They worked together to create working circuits and to test materials to identify conductors and insulators.

Using models and manipulatives is beneficial to students by taking abstract.t ideas and making them concrete.  Students can use their prior knowledge about an idea or concept with models and manipulatives and further investigate to learn new information.  Models and manipulatives also allow teachers to differentiate and accommodate for different students. In addition, using such items encourages social interaction amongst students and discourse between them. The combination lends to building and developing a conceptual understanding by enhancing the overall learning experience. Students remember what they learned and explaining their thinking is easier for them because they experienced it.  

  Using Manipulatives to Develop a Conceptual Understanding
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Using Manipulatives to Develop a Conceptual Understanding
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Electrical Energy Matters

Unit 2: Structure, Function, and Properties of Matter
Lesson 18 of 19

Objective: SWBAT identify properties of materials that conduct and insulate electricity.

Big Idea: Students will test materials to determine which ones are conductors or insulators.

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2 teachers like this lesson
Electricity, Science, conductors and insulators, matter, structure, function
  40 minutes
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