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Modeling Workshop in CASTLE Electricity is a Course

Modeling Workshop in CASTLE Electricity


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Full course description


June 10, 2019


3 Weeks


Tempe, AZ



What you'll learn:

The Capacitor Aided System for Teaching and Learning Electricity (CASTLE) is modified for use with Modeling Instruction. The main objective of the first Modeling Workshop (in mechanics) was to acquaint teachers with all aspects of the modeling method of instruction and develop some skill in implementing it. To that end, teachers were provided with a fairly complete set of written curriculum materials to support instruction organized into coherent modeling cycles.

In this course, teachers will review core modeling principles, discuss ways to successfully implement a modeling approach, then work through coherent model-centered materials in modeling-adapted CASTLE electricity, to develop a deep understanding of content and how to teach it effectively. To these ends, they read, discuss, and reflect on related physics education research articles. The focus is on first-year physics courses that use algebra.

Course content:

Unit 1: The fundamental requirements for creating simple DC circuits are investigated. Using compasses, students discover the something is moving through all of the conductors in the circuit and that the flow does not diminish after passing through a bulb

Unit 2: Students use a capacitor to determine the origin of the moving charge in a circuit. Bulb lighting and compass deflections are used to discover that charge is already present in all the conductors in a circuit. Students see that the capacitor can store energy so as to drive charge around a closed loop. Students are also introduced to an analogy between charge and air rather than charge and water.

Unit 3: Students develop a concept of resistance by examining the effect of different types of bulbs on capacitor charging and discharging times. After determining that the bulbs control the rate of charge flow and not the amount, the air analogy is again used to develop a kinesthetic sense of resistance. Students are also introduced to the effects of series and parallel combinations of bulbs

Unit 4: The air analogy is again used to develop a concept of electric potential/voltage as an electric pressure. After examining the effects of adding more batteries in series on an already charged capacitor and of adding cells in series but with reversed polarity, students develop an understanding of pressure and pressure difference as an explanation for why charge flows, why capacitor charging stops and why a charged capacitor can cause charge to flow with no battery in the circuit.

Unit 5: The air analogy is studied in more detail. By slowing down transient conditions with a capacitor connected in parallel to various bulbs, students investigate how electric pressure changes in wires not directly connected to a battery. Students also examine the nature of short circuits and how batteries 'die'.

Unit 6: Students are introduced to the voltmeter as a device that measures electric pressure difference and the ammeter as a device that measures flow rate. With devices providing quantifiable measurements of pressure and flow rate, a mathematical definition of resistance is developed. Also, students examine materials that develop the concept of energy transfer and power in the circuit.

Unit 7: mMagnetic fields around current-carrying wires are studied. Students examine the inner mechanism of a motor and investigate forces on current-carrying wires in a magnetic field. The right-hand rule is used to predict the direction of magnetic force

What you'll receive:

Certificate showing Continuing Education Units earned


A mechanics Modeling Workshop (preferred) or a physical science Modeling Workshop.

Limited spaces in the classroom are available. To apply for a space, please e-mail

*If you will pay out of pocket and cannot get reimbursed, please email for a coupon code that will give you 50% off the price of the course.

Meeting Details

June 10, 2019 through June 28, 2019

MTWR: 8:00am - 3:30pm Friday: 8:00am - 12:00pm


ASU Tempe Campus
Bateman Physical Sciences Center
room H-357
550 E Tyler Mall
Tempe, AZ 85287