View Poll Results: In What Direction Were You Taught Electricity Flows? Negative to Positive 17 45.95% Positive to Negative 20 54.05% Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

# Electricity Poll: which way were you taught?

by zoobyshoe
Tags: electricity, poll, taught
P: 5,568
 Quote by Ivan Seeking I think I would have to go back to Cub Scouts for my first exposure here. No doubt this was discussed as current [hole] flow. At any point after that, my best recollection is that I was aware of both concepts. One of my science fair projects was a Van de Graaff generator, which clearly conveys the concept of electron flow. That was in the ninth grade, but I worked from dad's college physics books, so it's hard to be sure of what was taught in class. Zooby, I think you needed at least a third option, so I didn't vote.
Yes, I didn't anticipate any situations where someone could say they were taught both.
 Quote by Pythagorean I wasn't actually taught that "electricity flows" though; I was taught current does. Electricity isn't really a quantity with units like current is, it's more like the general name for the phenomena.
You're right. The word "electricity" should be replaced with "electric current". A specific direction usually has to be attributed to DC so there's some sense of what's alternating when AC is introduced.
 HW Helper P: 6,163 I think the question in which direction "electric current" flows is a bit ambiguous. Are we talking about "conventional current" or "electron flow"? I have also been taught both. But suppose you have the schematic of an electrical circuit. In which direction would you draw the arrows representing the current? From the plus pole (high voltage) to the minus pole (low voltage) or vice versa?
HW Helper
P: 2,270
 Quote by zoobyshoe Yes, I didn't anticipate any situations where someone could say they were taught both.
Oh, for crying out loud!

If it was the first way you were taught, you flip the light switch on! For all subsequent ways you were taught, leave the light switch alone. The only person that gets to flip the switch down is the counter (Zooby). It's the only possible way we'll know for certain!

 Sci Advisor P: 5,380 For those who are sure they know the "right" answer (whichever you think is right), see http://amasci.com/amateur/elecdir.html Or see http://amasci.com/miscon/elect.html for a bigger picture of how to confuse students about electricity.
 PF Patron P: 299 I was told that we model electrons pop out of the positive terminal to the negative, but when they found out in reality it is the opposite no one bothered to change all the textbooks
PF Patron
Emeritus
P: 12,470
 Quote by AlephZero For those who are sure they know the "right" answer (whichever you think is right), see http://amasci.com/amateur/elecdir.html Or see http://amasci.com/miscon/elect.html for a bigger picture of how to confuse students about electricity.
I was quite shocked the first time I calculated the electron drift velocity in a wire given a nominal dc current.
P: 418
 Quote by Ivan Seeking I was quite shocked the first time I calculated the electron drift velocity in a wire given a nominal dc current.
We worked it out in physics last week and its something like 24 hours to go through 1 metre of wire IIRC.
 P: 239 Taught to draw the current arrows in the direction a postive charge would flow IF it flowed. And that this was just a convention so everyone would know what the arrows meant. I do recall chemistry teachers talking about the fact that convention for flow in chemistry was the opposite as that taught in physics but I taught both and both seemed totally logical so I never did figure out what her problem was with it??? I'm thinking it was because the cathode and a cation were opposite in charge, but they are different things so its just a matter of being careful to read whatever convention the materail is using.
 HW Helper Sci Advisor P: 1,772 I teach students simultaneously that "current" is from + to - , while electrons (which are the only things flowing in solid conductors) drift from - to + . I like to point out that it's all Ben Franklin's fault for calling the glass rod "Positive." (I want to go back in time so I could ask "Are you sure?" and he would reply "Yes, positive.")
P: 5,568
 Quote by Chi Meson I like to point out that it's all Ben Franklin's fault for calling the glass rod "Positive." (I want to go back in time so I could ask "Are you sure?" and he would reply "Yes, positive.")
Great joke! At least, I got a charge out of it.
PF Patron
P: 7,345
 Quote by zoobyshoe Great joke! At least, I got a charge out of it.
PF Patron
P: 3,946
 Quote by zoobyshoe Great joke! At least, I got a charge out of it.
pardon my reluctance to laugh, the charge wasn't moving enough for me.
P: 5,568
 Quote by Pythagorean pardon my reluctance to laugh, the charge wasn't moving enough for me.
Watt? You're just being negative. That's no way to conduct yourself. You have more potential.
PF Patron
P: 3,946
 Quote by zoobyshoe Watt? You're just being negative. That's no way to conduct yourself. You have more potential.
I have my domains conflicted! I can't help it. I'm becoming hysteresical!
P: 5,568
 Quote by Pythagorean I have my domains conflicted! I can't help it. I'm becoming hysteresical!