Investigation Sequence

Title

Electricity

Written by:

Marlene Storms and Candi Coventry

                Date

 

Focus Questions

How are people responsible for electricity?
What is electricity?
What is the importance of electricity?
How is electricity created?
How do we use observation to gather evidence to create understanding?
How models help us understand and explain?

Concepts

Content: Earth, Physical, & Life

Energy can be transferred from electricity to light.
Electrical circuits require a complete circuit through which an electrical current can pass through a source and receiver.

Cross cutting concepts

Evidence is something that is observed and can be used to understand what is happening and make predictions about future changes.
Models are structures that correspond to real objects, events, or classes of events.
Explanations are based on observation derived from experience or experimentation and are understandable.

Science Practice

 

Personal, Social, Technology, Nature of Science, History

People have practiced Science and technology for a long time.

Background information

Electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass. Electricity in circuits can transfer electrical energy to light energy. Ben Franklin, Michael Faraday and Thomas Edison are three early scientists that studied electricity and its components.

 

Activity Sequence

1. Static

2. Light the bulb

3. Circuit tester, conductor/nonconductor

4. Making a bulb

5. Electric magnets

6. Puzzle board

 

Activity Descriptions

Activity 1
Objectives: Students will demonstrate how objects become electrically charged. Students will summarize Benjamin Franklin’s contributions to the understanding of electricity. Students will observe, predict and test the effects of static electricity.
Materials: balloons, tissue paper, thread, running water, rice cereal, styrofoam peanuts, wool cloth, chart paper-markers, glass rod, lab sheet, comb for each group
Procedure:
1. Ask students to share ways electricity is used each day. List the responses.
2. Give students silk and glass rods to explore the electricity. Explain to students to rub the rods with the different fabrics (silk, wool, etc.). Move the rod toward different objects (tissue paper, Styrofoam, cereal) that are attached to thread suspended from the desk. Record the results and chart.
3. Students work in cooperative groups to explore static charges with rubber (latex) balloons. Have them rub their hair, shirts, chair, desk, etc. Then hand out static kits for each group to test. (string, tissue paper, Styrofoam peanuts, wool cloth)
a. Students chart results of various tests.
b. Have the students share their data and put it on a class chart.
c. Discuss if the objects attracted, repelled.
d. Students design simple experiment to demonstrate to class.
4. Students will then continue experiment and record the following information:
a. Rub 2 balloons on the same material, hold the balloons together by their strings. What happens? Why?
b. Try sticking the balloon to the wall or someone else. What happens? Why?
c. Try attracting and repelling other materials with your balloon.
5. Share the information found in the groups with the class and record it on the class chart.
6. Ask the students if they see any patterns in their results. Ask them what they are.
7. Ask how scientists understand static electricity.
8. Ask how observations help them understand.
9. Ask how they could use their understandings.
10. Ask how long do you think people have known about static electricity?


Activity 2
Objective: Students will build a complete circuit and alter it with switches.
Materials: Bag with following materials for each group: Fresh D Cell batteries, 5-10 strips of insulated wire, bulb, switches
Procedure:
1. Ask students how to light a bulb with a battery.
2. Pass out a bag of materials to each group. Say: "You have everything you need to light your light bulb, can you do it?" Let each group work cooperatively to light the light bulb.
3. Have them share their diagrams. Ask them what is the same for each. Ask them to describe the condition for lighting the bulb.
4. Ask how they can know if a circuit works.
5. Ask them to describe how the electricity moves in each circuit.
6. Tell them that a model can be used to describe something that isn’t observable. Ask them to explain a model for one of their circuits.
7. Have the students draw a diagram to represent what they did to get the light bulb to light up.
8. Give the students the following to complete:
a. Build a circuit using battery holder/bulb holder, 2 bulbs, 3 wires and a switch.
9. Tell them to make a circuit that will work or not work depending on the switch. Tell them to draw a model of the open and closed circuits including a battery, bulb, switch, and appropriate wiring.
10. When students have completed the assignment bring them together to share.
11. Ask each group to demonstrate their circuit and use their model to explain.
12. Ask the other students if their observations support their model. If not ask them how they should change their model. Continue for all groups.
13. Ask the students importance of knowing circuits and how they work.
14. Ask the importance of models.
15. Ask how scientists study electricity.
16. Ask how scientists use observation and explanations of models.
17. Ask how they can use what they have learn.


Activity 3:
Objectives: Students will conduct a circuit tester. Students will apply knowledge of conductors and insulators to make switches and simple circuits. Students will explore and classify common material as conductors or insulators.
Materials: batteries, bulbs, battery holder, bulb holder, wire, assortment of small items made of various materials (plastic, wood, metals, glass, etc), paper clips, paper brads, index cards
Procedure:
1. Have the students make a tester by building a circuit with a wire going from the battery to the bulb, another wire from the bulb hanging loose, and a wire from the other end of the battery hanging loose so that when the two loose ends are joined, the light bulb lights.
2. Ask them to describe how the electricity moves in this circuit.
3. Give students a box or bag of common objects ( plastic, wood, metals, glass, paper clips, etc) to list predicted conductors or insulators.
4. Tell the students to use each object in their circuit.
5. Students test the objects one at a time noting and revising predictions as needed charting the object, whether the circuit was open or closed, whether the bulb was lit or not, the material the object is made of.
6. Share results with the class. Chart the class results.
7. Ask students to describe which objects acted as conductors/insulators? Why?
8. Ask the importance of a conductor/insulator.
9. Ask how scientists use conductors and insulators.
10. Ask how the students can use what they have learned about conductors/insulators?


Activity 4:
Objectives: Students will become aware of the contributions of various scientists to the current knowledge and the use of electricity today. Students will solve problems using a variety of electrical principles. Students will experiment with various parallel and series circuits.
Materials: batteries, bulbs, battery holder, bulb holder, 3 wires, switch, clay, nichrome wire, glass jar, and chart paper.
Procedures:
1. To ensure student safety the teach will introduce the lesson by sharing the following demonstration.
a. Show students a large light bulb with the base removed. Point out the way the wires come through the light and connect to the base.
b. Given a drawing of a bulb on the board, have the students label the parts of a bulb. Ex. Filament
c. Ask students the importance of knowing the parts of a bulb.
d. Place lump of clay on desk, push 2- 30 cm pieces of wire into clay so that 10 cm of wire is standing straight up.
e. Wrap a piece of nichrome wire around each 10 cm wire end creating about 1 cm gap between the 10 cm hook up wires.
f. Next, place the jar over the connected wires BEFORE connecting the 2 batteries to the wires. CAUTION: Nichrome wires will glow orange hot with smoke. Do not leave the batteries connected too long or batteries will drain.
2. Ask students the procedure they are going to follow. Ask students what precautions they need to take before doing the activity.
3. Ask the students to tell how to construct a simple circuit.
4. Tell the students that they will be creating more complex circuits.
5. Ask the students to predict ways to make a circuit using more than one battery, bulb, etc.
6. Students work with a partner or trio to share their predictions.
7. Pass out student materials.
8. Students build circuits to connect more than one bulb, more than one battery, various challenges.
9. Ask the students to compare their predictions to their experiments. Ask them what differences they found.
10. Ask the students what differences there are in series and parallel circuits.
11. Ask the students to diagram examples of each of the circuits. Share the diagrams with the class.


Activity 5:
Objectives: Students will become aware of the contributions of various scientists to the current knowledge and the use of electricity today. Students will construct an electromagnet, compare the strength of various magnets, use scientific methods to design original experiments with electricity, and experiment with variables using electricity magnets.
Materials: batteries, battery holder, one nail, one switch, chart paper, one paper tube, copper wire, paper clips, 2 plastic cups, 1 wide craft stick and a variety of magnets.
Procedures:
1. Ask the students what they know about magnets.
2. Pass out magnets for free exploration.
3. Ask the students characteristics of magnets. (Ex. Strength, size, weight etc.)
4. Ask the students how magnets can be compared according to strength.
5. Ask the students to describe the difference between a magnet and an electromagnet.
6. Pass out the materials.
7. Students build electromagnets following written directions.
a. Begin by connecting a circuit using 1 battery, 2 wires, 1 switch, and 1 bolt.
b. Make the long wire into a coil by wrapping it around your bolt.
c. Connect the ends of the loop back to the circuit. Touch the bolt to the pile of paper clips.
d. Ask the students to describe what they see.
e. Ask the students to predict what will happen.
f. Live the bolt with the switch closed.
g. When the bolt begins to feel warm, open the switch to break the circuit.
h. Ask the students to describe what they have created.
i. Ask the students how an electromagnet works.
j. Ask the students to explain the importance for electromagnets.
k. Ask the students how they will use what they have learned.


Activity 6:
Objective: Students will understand the properties of electricity and its safe daily use. Students will become aware of the contributions of various scientists to the current knowledge and the use of electricity today. Students will correctly wire the board demonstrating ability to build and trouble shoot multiple circuits, circuit tester. Students will demonstrate knowledge of how electricity flows in a circuit.
Materials: Each student needs - poster board, aluminum foil, masking tape, hole punch, battery and holder, light bulb and holder, 3 wires and 2 alligator clips.
Procedures:
1. Have students use class resources and student work folders to write 8-10 interesting facts about one or more of the scientists that they have learned about.
2. Have student’s type or neatly print sentences leaving out a short word or phrase.
3. Ask students to arrange sentences on the left side of the board, missing words or phrases on the right side.
4. Have students punch holes beside each question and answer. Get teachers approval to proceed.
5. Students build a circuit tester as they have previously done.
6. Have students test a piece of aluminum foil and a piece of masking tape to see if they are conductors or insulators.
7. Students should make wires by taping a strip of aluminum foil long enough to connect sentence one to the correct word or phrase. They should cut these wires out with scissors and tape them to the backs of the quiz board taking care to completely cover both holes and all foil wires before going to the next circuit.
8. Students should test and trouble shoot their quiz boards as they assemble them. When they finish, they should again check to see that only the correct answer lights the tester bulb when the question is touched.

 

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes