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Fourth Graders’ Framing of an Electric Circuits Task Documents

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Fourth Graders’ Framing of an Electric Circuits Task  

written by Victoria Winters and David Hammer

Previous work shows that college students have more difficulty lighting a bulb with a single wire and a battery than with two wires, results that have informed the design of activities. We present some unexpected findings from two 4th grade classes engaged in a 15-hour inquiry module on electric circuits. Students successfully lit the bulb with a single wire in a variety of ways, but students from both classes showed and expressed the view that the bulb must be in direct contact with a battery in order for it to light. We suggest this arose from students framing the task as a building activity, and we analyze two classroom episodes in support of this interpretation.

Published November 11, 2009
Last Modified October 14, 2009

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