Big idea: Electricity and magnetism

The everyday world is largely a consequence of electrical charge. Understanding electricity and magnetism helps us develop technology to improve lives.

'Electricity and magnetism' is one of 15 big ideas of science in the Best Evidence Science Teaching collection. Understanding of the big idea is built up by a series of key concepts at age 11-16, which have been organised into teaching topics.

The research-informed resources for each key concept make up a progression toolkit that provides:

  • appropriately-sequenced steps for learning progression
  • diagnostic questions to reveal preconceptions and common misunderstandings
  • response activities to challenge misunderstandings and encourage conceptual development

Download teacher guidance notes for this big idea

 

 

Resources for age 11-14

Topic 1: Simple electric circuits

Topic 2: More electric circuits

Topic 3: Magnets and electromagnets

Resources for age 14-16

Topic 4: Electric fields

Topic 5: Circuit calculations

Topic 6: Circuit components

Topic 7: Electromagnetism

  • Key concept 1
    Motor effect

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in autumn 2022.

  • Key concept 2
    Generator effect

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded in autumn 2022.

Topic 8: Mains electricity

  • Key concept 1
    Electrical safety

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded at the end of 2022.
     
  • Key concept 2
    Paying for electricity

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded at the end of 2022.
     
  • Key concept 3
    Transmitting electricity

    Resources for this key concept will be uploaded at the end of 2022.
     

Is there a recommended teaching order?

The Best Evidence Science Teaching resources can be incorporated into your existing scheme of work, if desired. 

However, we have used research evidence on learning pathways and on effective sequencing of ideas to develop maps that suggest how key concepts can be sequenced to build understanding of big ideas of science. These maps can help with curriculum planning.

View the key concept map for physics