Electrical Circuit
Electricity and Magnetism

Where do the electrical charges come from?

Teaching Guidance for 5-11 Supporting Physics Teaching

Where are they before you notice them moving

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

Right Lines: The charges originate in the circuit.

Tackling the challenge

Thinking about the learning

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

Thinking about the teaching

The charges 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 think about it as if the charges live in the wires.

IOP DOMAINS Physics CPD programme

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