EMS Annual Meeting Abstracts
Vol. 18, EMS2021-78, 2021
EMS Annual Meeting 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

How to teach lightning activities to spark student curiosity?

Ildikó Takátsné Lucz1,2 and Péter Tasnádi3
Ildikó Takátsné Lucz and Péter Tasnádi
  • 1Doctoral School of Physics,Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest,Hungary (lutzildiko@gmail.com)
  • 2Budapesti II.Kerületi Szabó Lőrinc Kéttannyelvű Általános Iskola és Gimnázium,Budapest,Hungary,(lutzildiko@gmail.com)
  • 3Department of Meteorology,Eötvös Loránd University,Budapest,Hungary (ttasip6@gmail.com)

Last year a new National Curriculum was introduced in Hungary. Its framework not only restructured physics teaching but also have brought some changes in its content. In addition to the traditional chapters some new topics (such as the process of lightning activities, the issues of lightning-protection and the proper behaviour in lightning-hazardous situations) have emerged into the Curriculum. The aim of this study is to create and share teaching resources for secondary school students and their teachers which concern lightning strikes and damages caused by them. Thunderstorms and lightning activities are very complex and exciting phenomena which stimulate the students’ curiosity and consequently may increase their physics engagement and motivation. Furthermore, studying this topic provides students with excellent opportunities to develop their scientific thinking and deepen their science knowledge.

Our method for the investigation was the following: In total, 55 students (16-17-years old) were chosen to participate in this study. They were asked to fill in a pre-questionnaire in order to get an overview about their prior knowledge in lightning process and lightning protection. Several questions concerned misconceptions related to the topic. We were interested in what the students thought about them. Afterwards, we analysed the students’ responses and identified the areas which should be focused on. Some teaching resources and also worksheets were created based on the book An Introduction to Lightning written by Vernon Cooray. 

Before starting our discussions about lightning flashes we briefly summarized the stages of thunderstorm build-up, the formation of thunderstorm clouds and their electrification processes. After describing how clouds gain charges we examined the birth and development of lightning bolts and the operation of the global atmospheric electric circuit. Then we focused on the physics of lightning flashes, especially the mechanism of lightning strikes, the electric and magnetic field generated by them and their consequences. It was a great challenge to give the students elementary explanations for these problems as they do not have the necessary mathematical apparatus to accurately describe the electromagnetic field produced by lightning flashes. Particular attention has been paid to the electromagnetic spectrum of the strikes, the electromagnetic radiation in radio-, optic-, and in high-frequency ranges. Finally, students gained a brief insight into the method of lightning localization and lightning protection.

Based on our experience and the students’ feedback the topic could help spark student curiosity and promote their science and critical thinking. Moreover, the results of the students’ pre- and post-tests provide evidence that our teaching resources can also be effective in supporting student independent learning.

How to cite: Takátsné Lucz, I. and Tasnádi, P.: How to teach lightning activities to spark student curiosity?, EMS Annual Meeting 2021, online, 6–10 Sep 2021, EMS2021-78, https://doi.org/10.5194/ems2021-78, 2021.

Supporters & sponsors