Electrical Circuit
Electricity and Magnetism

Where do the charges come from?

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

Where are they before you notice them moving?

Wrong Track: The charges all come out of the battery.

Right Lines: The charge originates in the circuit.

Tackling the challenge

Thinking about the learning

The incorrect idea here is that the charged particles all originate in the battery and flow out from the battery to form the electric current.

Thinking about the teaching

The charges – the charged particles – originate in the circuit itself and are set in motion by the battery when the circuit is completed. They are simply parts of the atoms that make up the battery, wires and bulb. You might say that the charged particles live in the wires.

IOP DOMAINS Physics CPD programme

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