Schematics use symbols to represent components in the circuit. Conventions are used in a schematic to represent the way electricity flows. The common convention we use is from the positive to the negative terminal. The realistic way electricity flows is from the negative to the positive terminal.
During project days or workshops contact time with students is limited. It is therefore important for us to quickly ascertain student level of knowledge and then build on it or reinforce it. Analogies provide a good method of finding out students pre-existing level of understanding on this topic.
Therefore students can have difficulty grasping the ideas and principles involved and constructing understanding. Misconceptions may develop, with students believing electricity is a substance which gets used up. Understanding of electricity involves students acquiring a specialised specific set of vocabulary. However, although we cannot see electrical charges moving and transferring energy, the effect of the transfer can be seen.
We frequently use analogies to teach about electricity and electric circuits and have found them to provide an evocative method to bring this topic to life. The topic of electricity has the added difficulty of having specialised and often unfamiliar vocabulary which students have to learn; use of analogies helps students learn these new words.