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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds If children have the misconception that components in a circuit get more electricity if they are closer to the cell, a practical activity using data from data loggers (or data logging Apps) would help to challenge and reconstruct their understanding. Ask children to set to up a circuit with 3 bulbs where the bulbs are different distances away from the cell. You will need plenty of wires to do this. Once set up, choose one bulb to measure the brightness using the data logger. Set the bulb and data logger in place so they won’t move.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds Try the bulb in each bulb position in the circuit.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second Question the children to see if they found any that were brighter than others.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 seconds They could repeat the investigation with another bulb. Any changes now? The children should find that the bulbs are the same brightness all the way around the circuit, just as bulbs are on Christmas fairy lights.

Using data loggers

In this video, Sarah demonstrates a practical activity using electrical equipment and a data logger. This would help to challenge and reconstruct children’s understanding if they have the misconception that components in a circuit get more electricity if they are closer to the cell.

Children are challenged to measure the brightness of a bulb at different positions in a circuit. They discover that the brightness stays the same no matter where the bulb is placed.

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Data loggers are a requirement of the English primary National Curriculum, mentioned in the Working Scientifically statutory requirements from Lower Key Stage 2. They are incredibly useful and there are numerous opportunities for their use in the Curriculum.

If your school has data loggers or data logging Apps, give one example of how you are you using them.

If your school does not use them, what are the barriers?

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching Primary Science: Physics

National STEM Learning Centre