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Engineering with Electricity and Magnetism: A Guided-Inquiry Exercise for High-School Students to Enhance Understanding of Faraday’s and Lenz’s Laws

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Thinking Outside the Box! Innovative Curriculum Exchange for K12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.608.1 - 22.608.21



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Paper Authors


Micah Stickel University of Toronto

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Micah Stickel is a lecturer in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Toronto. He first came to the department when he started as an undergraduate student in 1993. Since that time, he has completed the B.A.Sc. (1997), M.A.Sc. (1999), and Ph.D. degrees (2006). He has been involved in a number of research projects, including the use of spiral antennas for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems, the design of high-fidelity directional couplers for digital circuits, and the application of micromachining techniques in the fabrication of bandpass filters for broadband wireless systems. He has also worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the developing field of three-dimensional metamaterials. He is interested in advancing the art of engineering education through the appropriate use of technology both in and outside of the classroom. As well, he has recently become more involved in the department's efforts to highlight the many engineering applications of electricity and magnetism to high school students.

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Bruno Korst University of Toronto

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Bruno Korst holds a master's degree in electrical engineering and is a Professional Engineer in the province of Ontario. He has been with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Toronto for nine years. Presently, he manages the undergraduate hardware labs group and is responsible for the operation of all labs supporting electrical engineering courses with practical components. Within Engineering Education, he has a special interest in experiment design and delivery, as well as in the improvement of laboratory settings to enhance practical learning.

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Engineering with Electricity and Magnetism: A Guided-Inquiry Exercise for High-School Students to Enhance Understanding of Faraday’s and Lenz’s LawsMany high-school students and teachers find the concepts of Faraday’s and Lenz’s laws to bedifficult to comprehend and often cannot see their relevance to our everyday lives. In manycases, these topics are omitted from the high-school curriculum or given a cursory coverage dueto the teachers’ lack of comfort with this material. However, these two laws are a criticalfoundation for many of the key technological innovations which have taken place over the past100 years, particularly in the area of electricity generation. As such, it is important that all high-school students develop a basic comprehension of these laws and how they can be used in anengineering context.As part of our high-school outreach effort we have developed a guided-inquiry exercise which isdesigned to enhance the understanding of these two fundamental laws. This hands-on exerciseenables high-school students to discover through their own efforts the essential ideas behindthese laws. At the same time, the students gain a greater appreciation for the role of engineers insociety by working through the steps to solve a simple design problem. This problem is basedaround the generation, storage, and use of renewable energy. For this exercise the students aregiven a kit which includes a flashlight that contains a coil and a magnet assembly. Thisassembly allows energy to be generated by shaking the flashlight, through the process ofelectromagnetic induction. The basic design problem which the students uncover through thesteps of the exercise is how to make use of this energy which is generated in this highly transientmanner.In order to share this exercise with as many students and teachers as possible we have begun topresent this as a workshop to high-school teachers at regional conferences of science teachers.The primary purpose of this paper is to fully describe this hands-on exercise and how the guided-inquiry method was implemented to highlight the most important concepts behind Faraday’s andLenz’s laws. We will also discuss the supplementary material that was prepared for the teachers,so that they would have the tools to highlight the engineering developments which have resultedfrom these laws. In addition, we will present some preliminary survey data that we havegathered from these conferences.

Stickel, M., & Korst, B. (2011, June), Engineering with Electricity and Magnetism: A Guided-Inquiry Exercise for High-School Students to Enhance Understanding of Faraday’s and Lenz’s Laws Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17889

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