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Friday, August 21, 2015

Ohm's Law Lab Training Video for CT-STEM

One of the physics activities for the CT-STEM Project at NU is an Ohm's law lab. While not terribly complicated for students to do, the main point being made is for teachers to have students try this lab as a first-step when beginning a unit on basic circuits. Most students have little electricity knowledge or experience, and most have not heard of Ohm's law. By having students do this first, they can use real data to 'discover' how resistance and voltage affect electric current. Best-fit functions of those data will allow students to at least reach some conclusion of an empirical formula, which should be close to I = V/R.

This type of process, where labs are done first in units and students use data to find empirical relationships and equations through the use of computational thinking skills, will truly help our efforts addressing Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

An additional chance to apply computational thinking skills to this lesson is this PhET video on Ohm's law (especially if a school does not have the equipment to do the physical experiment), or a Netlogo simulation for resistance, where an electron can be isolated as it bounces its way through material.

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