Some students conflate magnetic and electrostatic effects

Electricity and Magnetism


For example, some students expect a stationary, electrically charged object to be affected by a magnet (or vice versa).

Resources to Address This

  • Forces in an electrostatic field  (11-16)

    A shuttling ping-pong ball serves as a model of ions moving in an electric field.This shows the difference with magnetic effects.

    View Resource


  • Borges, A. T. and Gilbert, J. K. () Models of magnetism. International Journal of Science Education, 20 (3), 361-378.

    A study including electrical engineers shows that a fully correct understanding of electrical principles is not always necessary to work in the field. This paper describes how students and professionals picture electric currents and discusses how to develop models and teaching techniques that will allow students to link electrical concepts correctly.

    Paper digest

  • Guisasola, J., Almudi, J. M., Ceberio, M. and Zubimendi, J. L. () Designing and evaluation research-based instructional sequences for introducing magnetic fields. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 7 (4), 699-722.

  • Guth, J. () An in-depth study of two individual students' understanding of electric and magnetic fields. Research in Science Education, 25 (4), 479-490.

  • Karal, I. S., Alev, N. and Baskan, Z. () Student teachers’ Subject Matter Knowledge (SMK) on electric current and magnetic field. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 2 (2), 1498-1502.

  • Maloney, D. P., O'Kuma, T. L., Hieggelke, C. J. and Van Heuvelen, A. () Surveying students' conceptual knowledge of electricity and magnetism. American Journal of Physics, 69 (S1), S12-S23.

  • Maloney, D. P. () Charged poles? Physics Education, 20 (6), 310.

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