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Lesson Plan

Topic: D.C. Circuits

Class: Secondary 4 Express (Pure Physics)

Profile of Students: Generally high ability

Lesson Objectives: At the end of lesson, students should be able to:

a) State that in a series circuit, the current at every point is the


same.

b) Apply the principle of current in series to a variety of D.C.


circuits and solve related problems.

c) State that the potential difference across the entire series


circuit is equal to the sum of the potential difference in the
circuit.

d) Apply the principle of the sum of potential difference in a series


circuit to a variety of D.C. circuits and solve related problems.

e) State that in a parallel circuit, the current from a source is


equal to the sum of currents in the separate branches.

f) Apply the principle of current in a parallel circuit to a variety of


D.C. circuits and solve related problems.

g) State that in a parallel circuit, the potential difference across


the separate branches is the same.

h) Apply the principle of potential difference in a parallel circuit to


a variety of D.C. circuits and solve related problems.

Prior Knowledge: The entire topic of Current Electricity, especially the following—
Students should be already able to:

a) State and apply the relationship resistance=p.d./current.

b) Recall and apply the formula for the effective resistance of


resistors in series and in parallel to simple D.C. circuits and
solve related problems.

c) Explain and describe the functions of an ammeter and


voltmeter.

Students are also familiar with the use of Crocodile Physics from
previous lessons.
Concept Map:

D.C. Circuits

Series Circuit Parallel Circuit

Characteristics

Current Potential Difference Effective Resistance

Characteristics

Current Potential Difference Effective Resistance

Learning Aids & Resources:

Set Induction: Ceiling lights

IT: i) 2 students to 1 PC terminal

ii) Crocodile Physics

iii) PowerPoint Slides (Appendix A)

Worksheets: Appendix B

Hands-on: Investigations in Crocodile Physics


Set Induction:

 Step into the room and turn off all the lights except the row of lights nearest to the
whiteboard. Wait for about 20 seconds for all the students to pay attention to what
you are doing. Announce to the class that you want them to observe how, with the
flick of each switch, each row of ceiling lights turns on.

 Ask students what they think would happen if one of the ceiling lamps blew.

 Refer to a picture of ceiling lamps in a gymnasium and point out how one of the
lamps has blown but the rest remain lit. (PowerPoint Slide) Lead them to realise the
importance of connecting circuits in series or parallel in their everyday life.

 Ask students why they think this is so. Are the ceiling lamps in the room connected in
series or parallel? When do we connect circuits in series? parallel? or both?

 Inform the class that it is the characteristics of series and parallel circuits that enable
us to decide when and why they are to be connected in a certain way.

 Introduce the topic on D.C. circuits by asking students to recall the previous chapter
on Current Electricity where resistors in series and parallel were looked at briefly, and
Ohm’s Law was defined.

 Inform students that in today’s lesson we will be investigating the principle of current
flow and potential difference in series and parallel circuits.

Lesson Development:

1) Everyday applications

The trigger activity will set the students thinking about the importance of the characteristics
of series and parallel circuits as observed from the association of electrical circuits such as
ceiling lights in their everyday life. It also arouses students’ interest using an authentic
situation they are familiar with.

2) Student participation (Based on Piaget’s Constructivist approach)

This will be a student-centred, inquiry-based lesson whereby the class will be required to
investigate on the characteristics of current and potential difference in series and parallel
circuits (Appendix B). Students will be tasked to work in pairs and will be using a pre-
designed Crocodile Physics file to help them in their investigations. The investigations will be
divided into two sections, where the first section focuses on series circuits (Appendix B—
Class Activity 1), and the second, on parallel circuits (Appendix B—Class Activity 2). The
worksheet consists of some leading questions to guide students to collect data based on the
circuits preloaded in their Crocodile Physics file. Students will be given approximately 15
minutes to work on each of the class activities. After each section is completed, students are
expected to discuss and deduce the characteristics of current and potential difference in
series or parallel circuits, using the data they have gathered. If there is sufficient time,
students can be tasked to test out their hypothesis by constructing further circuits of their
own in Crocodile Physics itself. The teacher also scaffolds students’ participation by walking
around to monitor and facilitate students’ discussion during each 15 minute slot. There are
also leading questions in the worksheet. In this hands-on, minds-on and collaborative
learning approach, it will encourage maximum participation on the part of students.

3) Collaborative learning (Based on Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory)

Students are required to work in pairs to complete their investigation exercise, using
Crocodile Physics. Discussion and interaction with their partners enable students to enhance
their learning through collaboration with their peers and guidance from the teacher. After
each 15 minute slot where they are given time to complete 2 investigations in their pairs,
random pairs will be asked to share their findings with the class. This helps the teacher to
consolidate and gather feedback to check that students have arrived at the expected
conclusion for each investigation.

4) IT – Interactive multimedia

The lesson will be conducted in a computer room to make use of IT. PowerPoint will be used
for face-to-face teaching which includes consolidation of main points. Crocodile Physics will
be used for students’ investigation and aid in their completion of their class activity
(Crocodile Physics file—Series and Parallel D.C. Circuits). The teacher will also use
Crocodile Physics to aid in explanation during the consolidation of main learning points.

Lesson Closure:

There will also be a review of main learning points. Assign the homework (Appendix B--
Homework) which consists of two questions that will test their application of the principle of
current flow and potential difference in series or parallel circuits.

Ask: What if we now have a circuit that consists of a combination of series and parallel
parts? The teacher will return to the trigger activity and mention how classroom lights could
be constructed in a combination of parallel circuits in series. As preparation for the next
lesson, ask students to discuss in groups of 4 (existing pairs to work with another pair) and
draw out a possible circuit diagram involving their classroom lights. They will be asked to
present and explain why they have drawn the circuit in a particular way.

Inform students that we will be looking at circuits consisting of both series and parallel
components in the next lesson. Hint that to solve unknowns in such circuits, they are to
identify sections of the circuit which are in series or parallel and use the earlier principles of
current and potential difference to solve as before. Tell the students that if they feel up to it,
they can try the challenge question which consists of a combination of series and parallel
parts before the next lesson.
Summary of lesson plan

Time
Frame Activities Resources Rationale

5 mins  Step into the classroom and turn off all the Classroom Trigger activity to capture
lights except the row nearest to the lights; students’ attention and
whiteboard at the front of the class where PowerPoint
prepare mindset on topic
the teacher is standing. Slide
D.C. Circuits.
 Ask students if they think if each row of
classroom lights is connected in series or PowerPoint is used to
parallel. Connect the problem to a picture present a picture that
on the PowerPoint slide where a single enables the teacher to ask
lamp is blown. a pertinent question.
(Authentic scenario)
 Introduce the topic on D.C. Circuits and
highlight the importance of the
characteristics of series and parallel circuits
to a person’s everyday life.

5 mins  Recall students’ prior knowledge on current PowerPoint Scaffolding students for
electricity. Slide; the lesson and ensuring
Crocodile that they are clear of what
 Hand out worksheet; get students in pairs;
explain what the class activities are about Physics; they are investigating.
and how students are supposed open the Class (Scaffolding)
file and go about their investigations using Worksheet
Crocodile Physics. Crocodile Physics is a
useful tool for students’
investigation of electric
circuits as it saves the
hassle of replacement
when students blow any of
the components.

IT is especially useful
compared to traditional
methods of teaching for
this topic because of the
abstract nature of electric
circuits.
15 mins  Students engage in collaborative learning PCs; Encourage student
and investigation with their partners in Crocodile participation through
completing Class Activity 1. Physics; hands-on and minds-on
 The teacher walks around to monitor and Class inquiry based approach.
facilitate discussion and to clarify and Worksheet The worksheets will lead
queries students may have. students to ‘construct’ their
own knowledge. (Piaget’s
(Appendix B: Class Activity 1—Investigation 1 Constructivism)
& 2)
Collaborative learning also
 Faster pairs can go on to construct their
maximises students’
own circuits to validate their conclusions or
attempt the question in Class Exercise 1. learning. (Vygotsky’s
social development
theory)

10 mins  Random pairs are selected to share their Whiteboard; Sharing from students
findings. Crocodile provides feedback to
Physics; teachers as a form of
 Teacher summarises conclusions from the
first two investigations for series circuits— PowerPoint evaluation.
the current at every point is the same; the Slide; (Feedback and evaluation)
potential difference across the entire circuit Class
is equal to the sum of the potential Worksheet Summary and the
difference in the circuit. example consolidates ‘new
learning’ for students.
 Students are given about 2 minutes to try Students learn to apply the
out the question on their own. principle of current and
Teacher then guides students through an potential difference in a
example in Class Exercise 1.
series circuit and solve
Possible guiding questions:
What do we know about current in a series related problems.
circuit? (Consolidation)
So what is the current flowing through the
10 ohm resistor?
Use Ohm’s Law…
What do we know about the potential
difference of a series circuit?
You can check your answers by working
backwards!
(e.g. what is the total resistance of the
circuit?)

(Appendix B: Class Exercise 1)

15 mins  Students engage in collaborative learning PCs; Encourage student


and investigation with their partners in Crocodile participation through
completing Class Activity 2.
Physics; hands-on and minds-on
 The teacher walks around to monitor and Class inquiry based approach.
facilitate discussion and to clarify and The worksheets will lead
queries students may have. Worksheet students to ‘construct’ their
own knowledge. (Piaget’s
(Appendix B: Class Activity 2—Investigation 3 Constructivism)
& 4)
Collaborative learning also
 Faster pairs can construct their own circuits
to validate their conclusions or attempt the maximises students’
question in Class Exercise 2. learning. (Vygotsky’s
social development
theory)

10 mins  Random pairs are selected to share their Whiteboard; Sharing from students
findings. Crocodile provides feedback to
Physics; teachers as a form of
 Teacher summarises conclusions from the
next two investigations for parallel circuits PowerPoint evaluation.
— the current from a source is equal to the Slide; (Feedback and evaluation)
sum of currents in the separate branches; Class
the potential difference across the separate Worksheet Summary and the
branches is the same. example consolidates ‘new
learning’ for students.
 Students are given about 2 minutes to try
Students learn to apply the
out the question on their own.
Teacher then guides students through an principle of current and
example in Class Exercise 2. potential difference in a
Possible guiding questions: parallel circuit and solve
What do we know about potential related problems.
difference of a parallel circuit? (Consolidation)
So what is the current flowing through the
20 ohm resistor? The 50 ohm resistor?
Use Ohm’s Law…
What do we know about current in a
parallel circuit?
You can check your answers by using an
alternative method!
(e.g. what is the total resistance of the
circuit?)

(Appendix B: Class Exercise 2)

 Review main learning points Whiteboard; Questions in homework


10 mins PowerPoint; will test their application of
 Ask them to prepare their homework for the
Class the principle of current
next lesson.
Worksheet flow and potential
(Appendix B: Homework) difference in series or
parallel circuits.
 Ask: What if we now have a circuit that (Evaluation and Feedback
consists of a combination of series and for the teacher in the next
parallel circuits? Return to trigger activity lesson)
and mention how classroom lights could be
constructed in a combination of parallel Question and hint leads
circuits in series. students to attempt to
extend what they have
 As preparation for the next lesson, ask learnt earlier.
students to discuss in groups of 4 (existing
pairs to work with another pair) and draw Students are led to extend
out a possible circuit diagram involving the problem to a real life
their classroom lights. They will be asked to
scenario.
present and explain why they have drawn
the circuit in a particular way. (Problem-Based Learning)

 Inform students that we will be looking at Provides a link and


circuits consisting of both series and extension to the next
parallel components in the next lesson. lesson.

 Hint that to solve unknowns in such


circuits, they are to identify sections of the
circuit which are in series or parallel and
use the earlier principles of current and
potential difference to solve as before. Tell
the students that if they feel up to it, they
can try the challenge question which
consists of a combination of series and
parallel parts before the next lesson.

Reflection on the limitations and advantages of the planned lesson

The planned lesson is based on the constructivist approach in learning. Generally high ability
students would be likely to benefit from such an approach as they are challenged to carry
out their own investigations to inquiry and construct their own learning. The teacher’s role is
to guide and scaffold students through Socratic questioning and the use of Class
worksheets. Students may feel more responsible for their own learning this way as opposed
to the teacher using a solely chalk and talk approach. Classroom discussions would also
make the lesson more engaging for them.

Since the setting of the lesson is in the computer lab, the lesson is probably more
constrained in the sense that the usage of computers/hands-on Crocodile Physics activity is
maximized as far as possible. This means that the number of actual examples or problems
the teacher can go through in the class is limited by time. In the following lessons, it may be
helpful for the teacher to go through more problems to review and test students’ application
of their knowledge, (i.e. more practice and drill) in class. This is especially so since the next
lesson will include solving circuits involving series and parallel components which requires
students to have a strong prior understanding of current and potential difference in series or
parallel circuits.

The use of Crocodile Physics also enables students to carry out their investigations in a
shorter span of time as opposed to actually constructing their own circuits. However,
students should also be given opportunities for hands-on construction of their own circuits,
using the voltmeter and ammeter to measure current and potential difference across the
circuits during their practical laboratory sessions later on. This would benefit the more
kinestatic learners and students may be more familiar with the actual experiments after
having done similar investigations using Crocodile Physics.

References

Ace Electric Co., Inc. (n.d.). Lighting. Retrieved October 30, 2008, from
www.aceelectriconline.com/lighting.htm

Chew, C., Leong, S. C., & Chow, S. F. (2000). Physics: A Course for 'O' Level. Singapore:
Federal Publications.

Fong, H. F., & Kwen, B. H. (2007). Cooperative learning: Exploring its effectiveness in the
Physics classroom. Singapore: Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching.

Quah, J. (2008). Physics Expression: An inquiry approach 'O' Level Science (Physics).
Singapore: Panpac Education.

Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board. (2008). SEAB-2009 GCE O-Level


Examination. Retrieved October 20, 2008, from GCE 'O' Levels Physics Syllabus
(5057): http://www.seab.gov.sg/SEAB/oLevel/syllabus/private/2009_GCE_O.html

Yong, L. W., & Wai, L. K. (2007). Science in Focus: Physics 'O' Level (Teacher's Resource
File)`. Singapore: Pearson Longman.
Appendix B: Class Worksheet

Name: Class: Date:

Worksheet: D.C. Circuits

Class Activity 1

In this activity, you will be investigating the characteristics of current and potential difference
in series circuits.

Access the Crocodile Physics File entitled ‘Series and Parallel Circuits D.C. Circuits’ under
shared folder on the desktop. Under ‘Series Circuits’ Tab (Section A), complete the following
investigations:

Investigation 1

Click to turn on the switch in each of the circuits.

a) Record down the ammeter readings in the space below.

b) What do you notice about the ammeter readings A1 and A2?

___They are equal.__________________________________________________________


c) What about the ammeter readings A3, A4 and A5?

___They are equal.__________________________________________________________

d) What can you conclude about current in a series circuit?

__Current at every point in a series circuit is the same.______________________________

Investigation 2

Click to turn on the switch in each of the circuits.

a) Record down and tabulate the voltmeter readings for circuits 4, 5 and 6.
b) For each of the circuits, what do you notice about the voltmeter reading of V and the other
respective voltmeter readings?

___V gives the sum of the other respective voltmeter readings._______________________

c) What can you conclude about potential difference in a series circuit?

The sum of potential differences is equal to the potential difference across the whole circuit.

Summary:

Characteristics

Current Potential Difference Effective Resistance

Assuming cell source has e.m.f. E and negligible resistance.

Class Exercise 1

The circuit below comprises a 3 V cell of negligible internal resistance. The ammeter
registers a current of 0.1A.

V2 V1
a) Find the p.d. across the 10 Ω resistor.
This is a series circuit, so a current of 0.1 A also passes through the 10 Ω resistor.
From Ohm’s Law,

V1 = IR
= 0.1 x 10
=1V

b) Find the p.d. across resistor R.

E = V1 + V2
Then V2 = E – V1
= 3 – V1
=3–1
=2V

c) Find the value of resistor R.

Class Activity 2

Now proceed to ‘Parallel Circuits’ Tab in Crocodile Physics to continue your investigations
for current and potential difference in parallel circuits.
Investigation 3

Click to turn on the switch in each of the circuits.

a) Record down and tabulate the ammeter readings.


b) For each of the circuits, what do you notice about the ammeter reading of A and the other
ammeter readings?

__A gives the sum of the other respective ammeter readings for each circuit.____________

c) What can you conclude about currents in a parallel circuit?

_The current in the main branch is equal to the sum of the currents in the parallel branches._

Investigation 4

Click to turn on the switch in each of the circuits.

a) Record down and tabulate the voltmeter readings.

b) For each of the circuits, what do you notice about the voltmeter reading of V compared to
the other voltmeter readings?

_They are all equal to V.______________________________________________________

c) What can you conclude about potential difference in a parallel circuit?


_The potential difference across the terminals of the source is equal to the potential
difference across all the other respective resistors arranged in a parallel circuit.___________

Summary:

Characteristics

Current Potential Difference Effective Resistance

Assuming cell source has e.m.f. E and negligible resistance.

Class Exercise 2

The circuit shown below comprises a 5.0 V battery of negligible internal resistance. Calculate
the currents and .

The p.d. across the 20 Ω and 50 Ω resistors is 5.0 V. Then

Notice that the lower current flows through the branch that has a larger resistance.
Homework (To be completed by next lesson)

Q1) Calculate the current flow through each of the resistors and p.d. across each resistor.

Total resistance =

From Ohm’s Law,

So 0.5 A flows though each of the resistors.


The p.d. across each resistor is as follows:

Check:
The same!

Q2) The circuit below comprises a 2 V battery of negligible resistance. The current flowing
through resistor R is 0.2 A. Calculate the value of the resistor and currents and .

From Ohm’s Law,

Also,

Now,

Challenge Question: Can you solve this?

Circuits formed with a combination of series and parallel circuits.

In the circuit below, we have three identical bulbs of resistance 10 Ω each, which are
connected to a 12 V battery of negligible resistance.

a) Calculate the combined resistance of L1 and L2.


b) Calculate the total resistance of the circuit.

c) Calculate the current flowing through L3.

d) Find the p.d. across BC and CD.

e) Find the currents flowing through L1 and L2.