Science Reasoning Center - Circuits
There are three Electric Circuits passages that target students' science reasoning abilities. They are ...
This passage describes a collection of simple and related experiments involving a comparison of two different types of light bulbs. Diagrams, tables and short descriptions are used to describe the results of investigating the brightness of the bulbs when configured in circuits in various ways, the appearance of their filaments under a microscope, and a comparison of flow rates through the filaments to air flow rates through straws. Questions target a student's ability to understand an experimental design, to make inferences based on experimental results from similar studies, to draw conclusions that are consistent with provided data, to identify models that are supported by two or more data presentations, and to identify an assumption associated with a conclusion.
This passage describes the American Wire Gauge system (AWG) for expressing the width of electrical wires. Two tables are used to describe the relationship between wire gauge, wire diameter, cross-sectional area, resistance, and ampacity at specific temperatures. Questions target a student's ability to select data from a table, to identify the manner in which one variable depends upon another, to interpolate and to extrapolate from data within a table, to recognize complex numerical patterns in tables of data, and to combine information from two different tables to draw complex conclusions.
This passages describes three simple experiments in which the characteristics of series and parallel circuits are compared and contrasted. Figures and written descriptions of observations are provided to describe how the arrangement of light bulbs affects the bulb brightness. Questions target a student's ability to understand an experimental design, to draw conclusions that are consistent with provided data, to make appropriate inferences based on observations, to identify simple relationships between variables, and to identify the experimental conditions that would lead to specific results.
On the Resource CD:
A Resource CD is being prepared to assist classroom teachers in using this section of the website more effectively within their classrooms. The Physics Classroom plans to release the CD during the spring semester or summer of 2013.
The Electric Circuits section of the CD will include five different passages, including these three passages. The passages are accompanied by questions, answers with thorough explanations, and a table that associates each question with a specific science reasoning skill (or college readiness standard). In addition to PDF files, the information on the CD is also available as Microsoft Word files, allowing teachers the ability to pick and choose questions from the large bank of questions associated with each passage.
More information about the CD can be found at the Resource CD page.