Universal Journal of Physics and Application Vol. 9(6), pp. 258 - 262
DOI: 10.13189/ujpa.2015.090604
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University Students Use of Explanatory Models for Explaining Electric Current in Transitory Situations


Ane Leniz , Kristina Zuza , Jenaro Guisasola *
Department of Applied Physics, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Polytechnical College, Spain

ABSTRACT

There are many studies on students' understanding of DC circuits in the steady state, but few studies have been made about students' ideas on transient states of movement of charges in a conductor. The traditional Electricity curriculum often involves situations of transient motion of charges such as the process of charging a body (conductor or dielectric), closing or opening the switch in a DC circuit or, circuits charging and discharging capacitors. In this research, we present two questions that have been used to investigate the representations of students about the movement of charges of transients in direct current, which focus on the transition between electrostatics and electrodynamics in first year university undergraduate study. The results obtained show that a significant percentage of students cannot correctly interpret simple transitory state current phenomena. Their explanations fall into two general categories. Firstly, one based on potential difference and secondly, one that excludes current flow in processes of transitory state. Some consequences for teaching are discussed.

KEYWORDS
Physics Education, University Students' Difficulties on Learning Explicative Models, DC Simple Circuit in Transitory State

Cite this paper
Ane Leniz , Kristina Zuza , Jenaro Guisasola . "University Students Use of Explanatory Models for Explaining Electric Current in Transitory Situations." Universal Journal of Physics and Application 9.6 (2015) 258 - 262. doi: 10.13189/ujpa.2015.090604.