Many pupils cannot identify reliably from a diagram whether or not two resistors in a circuit are in parallel when they are drawn in an unfamiliar format.

Electricity and Magnetism

Misconception RESEARCH REVIEW

Diagnostic Resources

The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception.

For more information, see the University of York EPSE website.

Resources to Address This

  • Describing Parallel Circuits

    This resource discusses how best to describe the behaviour of parallel circuits in the classroom, and talks about ways of exploring different (but physically equivalent) circuit layouts with students.

    View Resource

References

The following studies have documented this misconception:

  • McDermott, L. C. and Shaffer, P. S. () Research as a guide for curriculum development: An example from introductory electricity. Part I: Investigation of student understanding. American Journal of Physics, 60 (11),

    994-1003.

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