The vignettes and materials presented here will help you understand how the Possible Worlds resources can be integrated with your existing approach to these topics. They are intended to help you make connections between the core mechanics of the games and the phenomena related to common scientific misconceptions.
Students must understand that electricity is different from matter, that it is a form of energy and therefore ephemeral but powerful.
Most middle-school texts begin with a discussion of atomic structure, leaving students with the misconception that electricity is a form of matter.
While playing the game, students will observe that the monsters start out making sound, and that the sound is jumbled. The monsters must be properly connected in order for the music to be coherent. This is much like the way in which wires contain electrons, but they will transmit energy only when properly connected with a flow of charges caused by a difference of voltages.
The slideshow reinforces the notion of flow by contagion rather than by movement through space. It is intended as a support for the use of the music studio puzzle in the Monster Music game, and as an analogy for the idea of the flow of electrical charge or current. Slide 6 shows that each part has two opposite charges: Like charges repel each other, and unlike charges attract each other. Slide 7 shows that when charges are aligned, electricity flows. Slides 8–9 use the analogy of laughter being infectious as a way to describe energy moving. Laughter is not a substance, and neither is energy.
Usually a page or two of text is devoted to the movement of charges. Objects become charged when electrons are transferred to or away from them: Opposite charges attract, like charges repel, and current is the flow of charges. Students may be left with the misconception that electrical current is the flow of electrons through initially "empty" wires.
See classroom activities related to Matter vs. Energy
While playing the game, students will observe that the monsters start out with each making its own sound, and that the sounds are jumbled when listened to all together. The monsters must be properly connected in order for the music to be coherent. This is much like an electrical circuit, in that the parts alone do not do very much, but when properly connected, the whole is greater than the component parts and is able to do work.
The slideshow focuses on how something can be “more than the sum of its parts.” It shows how the meaning of a pattern adds a dimension that makes the expression of the pattern more than merely the sum of its individual elements. Slide 7 shows that when charges are aligned, electricity flows.
Most textbooks address the subtopic of pattern and alignment as part of a discussion of electrical circuits. Students may believe that a complete system is simply the sum of its individual components.
The game was not designed to illustrate electrical circuits, but students can be invited to use the circuit analogy implied in the circle of musicians to consider what elements are missing in the Music Studio puzzle that would make it a better analogy for an electrical circuit.
After both playing the game and learning about basic circuits, the students will observe that the game presents an incomplete analogy for a circuit. Conversation can reveal the strengths (that energy, not matter, causes the citizenry to work) and weaknesses (a real circuit contains a voltage source and a load, in addition to conductive connectors).
Slide 10 shows that the movement of electric charges from one point to another is electrical current. The slide show does not cover circuits
There is usually a section of text that explains the basic components and functions of electrical circuits: (1) a circuit requires a source of energy, a load, and conductors; (2) a circuit must be closed for current to flow; and (3) circuits can be either in series or in parallel.