The Electric Circuit - A System Approach

  • Hermann Haertel University Kiel


The traditional treatment of the electric circuit in textbooks can be criticized in at least three respects: A) Knowledge of the global aspects of the electric circuit as a system is essential for a deeper understanding. However, this is not sufficiently emphasized. B) The presentation of the term “potential difference” or “volt-age” as energy per charge is too abstract, without reference to surface charges that are always present. C) The treatment of the electric circuit, based on Ohm´s law and Kirchhoff´s rules, is exclusively based on stationary states, without including the ever-existing transition processes. This article concentrates on the global aspects of the electric circuit as a system and its importance for a deeper understanding; it also provides detailed in-formation for corresponding classroom activities. The other two critical points are treated in subsequent arti-cles.


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How to Cite
HAERTEL, Hermann. The Electric Circuit - A System Approach. European Journal of Physics Education, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 3, p. 1-18, aug. 2021. ISSN 1309-7202. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 sep. 2023.