Electrostatics contains good subject matter where you have the opportunity to start simple and establish good understanding of the basics. Ensure that your students have sound definitions of all terms and quantities involved and that they are able to relate them to one another meaningfully.

The main part of this topic might as well be called elec-trickery as far as some of your students are concerned. They need to understand many things that seem counter intuitive. Often they come to the topic at GCSE with a confused understanding of the quantities involved. You need to clarify the meaning of the quantities involved and how they are all related to give the overall topic that is called electricity. You need to convince them that a battery (which is more than one cell) is needed to make the circuit work, that electricity does not flow, current does and that electricity is not used to light a lamp, energy is.  Watch this video clip to help you prepare for teaching the topic.

Abstract concepts are not the only challenge in this topic, there are several equations relating p.d., current, quantity of charge, resistance, power, energy, and time that your students will have to manipulate to solve circuit problems. They will also need to analyse voltage-current graphs to determine resistance for circuit components such as lamps.

Whilst this list provides a source of information and ideas for experimental work, it is important to note that recommendations can date very quickly. Do NOT follow suggestions which conflict with current advice from CLEAPSS, SSERC or recent safety guides. eLibrary users are responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is consistent with current regulations related to Health and Safety and that they carry an appropriate risk assessment. Further information is provided in our Health and Safety guidance.