Today, we started the circuits unit in Honors Physics. We always start with the batteries and bulbs activity from the Minds of our Own video. In this activity, students are given a battery, light bulb, a piece of wire and instructed to light the bulb. Many students struggle to do this. I give everyone enough time to figure it out and to draw a diagram of four ways to accomplish the task as well as diagrams that are ineffective. We then watch the video and I congratulate them on bettering the Harvard and MIT graduates.
I’m really looking forward to this new circuits unit. My colleague who designed the unit has done an excellent job combining elements of the McDermott’s Physics by Inquiry materials and the CASTLE curriculum.
In addition to the battery and bulb activity, students made detailed and thorough observations of an incandescent lightbulb to determine how it works and why it is constructed the way it is. In past years, I’ve broken the glass bulb to make it easier for students to see the inner elements. This year, my colleague purchased 150 W bulbs with extremely clear glass. Students can observe the inner workings with the glass intact which makes handling and storing the bulbs so much easier.
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