Section 5 : Electricity and magnetism

Theme: Dealing with challenging ideas

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • structured an activity to probe understanding of the topic and to help your students understand the key words;
  • supported your students in understanding the topic through active listening and talking;
  • organised a role play to model electricity flow and worked as a class to evaluate the model.


Being an effective science teacher involves being able to explain difficult ideas very clearly. There are a number of topics in science that are difficult to understand and difficult to explain because the ideas are abstract and based on things that we cannot see. Students often have ideas about science that are ‘wrong’, particularly about the more abstract topics. Just explaining the ‘right’ idea might work in the short term, but often doesn’t last until the student has to take an exam. The ‘wrong’ ideas need to be identified and tackled before progress can be made. Often, simply explaining the ideas is not enough; you need to revisit them and consolidate understanding.

In this unit, the three activities build on each other and will enable you to help your students gradually develop their understanding. The first activity focuses on literacy and making sure that your students understand the key words. The second and third activities use different approaches to developing understanding.

Resource 6: Extend and challenge

1. Focus on literacy