A teaching proposal on electrostatics based on the history of science through the reading of historical texts and argumentative discussions

Castells, Marina and Konstantinidou, Aikaterini and Cerveró, Josep M. (2015) A teaching proposal on electrostatics based on the history of science through the reading of historical texts and argumentative discussions. Il nuovo cimento C, 38 (3). pp. 1-14. ISSN 1826-9885

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Researches on electrostatics’ conceptions found that students have ideas and conceptions that disagree with the scientific models and that might explain students’ learning difficulties. To favour the change of student’s ideas and conceptions, a teaching sequence that relies on a historical study of electrostatics is proposed. It begins with an exploration of electrostatics phenomena that students would do with everyday materials. About these phenomena they must draw their own explanations that will be shared and discussed in the class. The teacher will collect and summarize the ideas and explanations which are nearer the history of science. A brief history of electrostatics is introduced then, and some texts from scientists are used in an activity role-play-debate type in which the “supporters of a single fluid” and “supporters of two fluids” have to present arguments for their model and/or against the other model to explain the phenomena observed in the exploration phase. In the following, students will read texts related to science applications, the main aim of this activity is to relate electrostatics phenomena with current electricity. The first text explains how Franklin understood the nature of the lightning and the lightning rod and the second is a chapter of a roman about one historical episode situated in the Barcelona of the XVIII Century. Students will use the historical models of one and of two fluids to explain these two phenomena, and will compare them with the scientific explanation of the “accepted” science of nowadays introduced by the teacher. With this type of teaching proposal, conceptual aspect of electrostatics will be learnt, but also the students will learn about the nature and history of science and culture, as well as about the practice of argumentation.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: 500 Scienze naturali e Matematica > 530 Fisica
Depositing User: Marina Spanti
Date Deposited: 28 May 2020 16:18
Last Modified: 28 May 2020 16:18
URI: http://eprints.bice.rm.cnr.it/id/eprint/19096

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