Vol. 18 (2011)

What are Students' Ideas about the Concept of an Electric Current?

Rawatee Maharaj-Sharma
The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus


  • Primary School Students,
  • Science Education,
  • Primary School Science,
  • Electricity,
  • Scientific Concepts,
  • Concept Formation,
  • Knowledge Level,
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • ...More

How to Cite

What are Students’ Ideas about the Concept of an Electric Current?. (2015). Caribbean Curriculum, 18, 69-85. https://journals.sta.uwi.edu/ojs/index.php/cc/article/view/579


Despite the body of research in science education on the concept of electricity in areas such as electricity consumption, electricity conservation, and the benefits and dangers of electricity, very little is known about young students' ideas about the phenomenon called electricity, and specifically the concept of an electric current. In this work, 15 students in Standard 5 (ages 9-11) of a primary school in south Trinidad were surveyed and interviewed in order to obtain qualitiative measures of their understanding of what an electric current is. The findings indicate that students' initial ideas were either vague or different from textbook concepts, but that after being exposed to the teaching of a unit on electricity, most students held the scientifically accepted understandings of the concept of an electric current. Furthermore, it was revealed that there was an almost exact match between students' word understandings and their picture understandings of an electric current in both instances - before and after being exposed to a taught unit on electricity.