It can be difficult for pupils' to grasp abstract concepts such as charge, current and voltage. The 'Rope Loop' is a great practical activity for teaching electricity and helps pupils' to develop an understanding of these concepts.

This activity relates these tricky concepts to the movement of a length of rope around in a loop.

Each person in the loop represents a component in an electrical circuit, the teacher as the battery and pupils' as the bulb, with the electric current represented by the moving rope itself.

In the classroom this activity can be put into practice by:

  • Getting a climbing rope
  • Organising the pupils into a big circle
  • Passing a rope out, with each pupil allowing it to pass lightly over curled fingers
  • Starting to move the loop around by passing it from hand to hand, demonstrating current
  • Asking pupils' to grip rope more tightly to demonstrate resistance

Carol Black, Head of Physics and Astronomy at The Royal Masonic School for Girls, was inspired to suggest this teaching idea after hearing Melissa Lord (Formerly Head of Science at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and Ogden Trust Teacher Fellow) give a workshop on Teaching Electricity at a New Teacher Subject Day for Physics teachers.

Schools Programme members and course attendees can download the resources from the event in the PTI Staffroom.

Want to discover more inspiring ideas for your classroom? See our upcoming courses and events for 2017, including our practical Science CPD Subject Day on Integrating required practicals, and our New Teacher Subject Days courses for BiologyChemistry and Physics.

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