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Lesson Plan

Electric circuits

Build circuits to show how electricity flows in a loop and can light a bulb. Optional additional activities: send morse code messages, play a steady hand game, test materials for conducting electricity.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Physics: Energy forms, Conservation of Energy (1, 3, 4, 5)
Physics: Electricity, Electromagnetism (7)

This lesson can be run in a structured or unstructured format.
Either way, a brief introduction to what electricity actually is allows students to visualize what is happening in their circuits.
What does electricity flow through? Wires and other things. Draw on board a wire. Show what is actually flowing - electrons. They are a tiny particle (actually a piece of an atom, that you might have heard of). Some things allow electrons to move through them, some things don’t. Younger students may understand the analogy of water flowing through a pipe.

Structured format (for younger students):
Electricity. What uses electricity? Lights. How does it work?
Where does it come from? From the power station in wires to your house. A lot of power. Also in batteries. Less power. We will use batteries for our experiments today.
Guide students through the building of a simple circuit to light a bulb.
Use the same circuit Morse code game.
Show them how to adapt the circuit for the Steady hand game.

Unstructured format (good for most ages):
Allow students to freely experiment with home made wires and bulbs, then run a group discussion to draw conclusions about how circuits work.
Depending on the understanding of the students guide them in making a simple circuit for the Morse code game, or ask them to set this up.
Provide a base and show them how to modify a circuit for the Steady hand game.

For either format, the Test for conducting electricity activity can be inserted at any point once the simple circuit to light a bulb is understood.

Attached documents: 

Home made wire and bulb circuits, followed by steady hand game was plenty for an ingridscience afterschool class

Grades taught: 
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Site tested: 
General Gordon Elementary Science Club
ingridscience afterschool