Design and Implementation of a Lesson Plan for High School Students: A Case Study with Oersted’s Experiment

  • Ana Paula Bispo da Silva
  • José Antonio Ferreira Pinto
  • Éwerton Jéferson Barbosa Ferreira
Part of the Science: Philosophy, History and Education book series (SPHE)


One of the most common classroom activities related to electromagnetism is to use the “right-hand rule” to describe the direction of the electromagnetic field lines around the wire or the direction of the electric current in the wire. However, the historical episode involved in this simple action was complex. It can work as a good example of how scientific concepts and scientists’ beliefs are related. During the 19th century, experiments with electricity and magnetism were very common. Although many philosophers did not know how to explain their results, those familiar with Naturphilosophie, such as Hans Christian Oersted, hypothesized that electricity and magnetism might be related. This philosophical background helped Oersted to interpret his experiments and the action of the electric current over a compass. The authors used the historical episode in an inquiry lesson plan including hands-on activities, texts about the historical episode, and reports produced by the students, with the aim of satisfying pedagogical requirements and current historiographical recommendations.



The authors acknowledge the financial support of the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (no. 474924/2012-2).


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Paula Bispo da Silva
    • 1
  • José Antonio Ferreira Pinto
    • 2
  • Éwerton Jéferson Barbosa Ferreira
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsState University of ParaibaCampina GrandeBrazil
  2. 2.State Elementary and Secondary School of the State of Paraiba, Department of PhysicsState University of ParaibaCampina GrandeBrazil
  3. 3.State University of ParaibaCampina GrandeBrazil

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