We discuss the alternative conceptions of students analysing the behaviour of electrical circuits. The present paper aims at, on one hand, studying the misconceptions of 80 elementary pre-service teachers from Quebec in Canada, in relation to the current source in DC circuits. To do this, they completed a two-choice questionnaire (true or false) with justification. Data analysis identifies many conceptual difficulties. For example, their majority considered a battery as a source of constant current: When a circuit composed of battery and resistors is modified, the current supplied by the battery remains unchanged. On the other hand, considering the alternatives conceptions identified we develop a two-tier test about source current. The aim of this two-tier test is to help teachers to diagnose rapidly their students’ misconceptions in order to consider in their teaching.
This article identifies the conceptual representations of 128 students enrolled in elementary pre-service teachers’ education in the Province of Quebec, Canada (ages 19-24). To construct their conceptual representations relatively to notions of heat and temperature, we use a qualitative research approach. For that, we distributed them a questionnaire including four questions. The result demonstrates that these students tend to view the temperature as a measure of the hotness of an object or person. They also related the sensation of cold (or warm) to the difference in temperature, and for their majority, the physical change of the matter does not require a constant temperature. These representations are inaccurate relatively to the scientific views, and we will see that they are relevant to the design of teaching strategies based on conceptual conflict.