Another photo from my visit to the river not too long ago.
A photo of the experiment, working a light bulb with a battery, we worked with in the Practicum B science course. It was quite entertaining so I figured I’d capture the moment.
This activity went along well with the second part of this unit, magnetism. For it, the class began by looking at various different materials and then held a cow magnet up to them to see if they were magnetic or not. It resulted in showing that only the paper clip and the nail were magnetic. The next section focused on where on the magnets the attraction was the strongest. To find this, the class took the cow magnets and held them to enclosed iron fillings. The fillings pooled around the two poles of the magnets. All in all it is a simple and rather fun way to not only introduce magnets and the idea of magnetic attraction, but also act as a way to dissect the parts of a magnet as well.
This was a good activity. It was simple and easy to clean up with minimal mess, thanks to the iron fillings being in a specialized case to test. And while that might be a bit pricey to get, they would definitely be worth the money especially to avoid any dangers of eating or swallowing the fillings as well as avoiding the mess overall. The activity is simple and the various items, like the nail which could be a hazard, can be substituted for safer items without a problem so long as they help to show the magnetic attraction to some metals and not to others and other materials. I would definitely use this in my classroom as an opening experiment to get the students to hopefully take an interest in magnetism as well as a better, basic understanding of it as well.
For this activity, the topic it focused on was electricity. We manipulated circuits in order to explore the ideas of current and voltage in relation to electrical energy. First we looked at a series circuit, where all the light bulbs were all connected in one, single line, and found that the light produced was weak. This came to be because the voltage was shared amongst them. Then we finished by looking at a parallel circuit, where the light bulbs were fashioned so that they each had their own, separate path to the batteries, and the result was the light produced was stronger. The voltage was not shared and thus stronger for both bulbs. All in all, the aim was to see just how voltage and current work with different types of circuits and just how electricity moves through things to power them.
Over all, activity is good for a number of things. It gives students visuals to see and compare the information about voltage that they receive in class. It acts as a good reinforcer for the concepts at hand. It is also very simple and very interesting, which will help to not only engage the students, but also keep their attention through the more dry topics. The only issue is, at least from my perspective, safety. The batteries are toxic, if broken open, and so it is important to make sure that all of them are new and not leaking any sort of acid. If something does happen, you must be sure to inform the students that they must tell you so you can help them to clean up properly. As a final thought, maybe a class set would be a bit too much, and so a single example to show all the students might work better.