The environment enables students to build and test (2D) circuit models by freely manipulating (symbolic or iconic) representations of electrical components and connecting wires. The circuit’s function is represented by qualitative visual evidence (color – for light bulbs, motion – for fans and sound for bells) and/or by quantitative outputs (current, voltage, power).
The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
The active construction process and the manipulation of models promote awareness of the topology of a circuit and the understanding of the relations between topology and function. The underlying topology is often obscured in a real circuit by hidden connections and tangled wires.
Context of Use:
Design circuit from verbal description
Create circuit model of a real circuit or picture or real circuit
Create circuits that are visually different but functionally identical
Manipulation of symbolic models of circuits and the testing of these models helps students realize the meaning of the different ways of connecting electrical components in a circuit and the relations between the topology and the function of electric circuits (for details, see references).
M. Ronen, M. Eliahu (2000) Simulation - A bridge between theory and reality: the case of electric circuits, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 16, 14-26.
M. Ronen, M. Eliahu (1997) Addressing Students Common Difficulties in Basic Electricity by Qualitative Simulation Based Activities, Physics Education, 32 (6), 29-35