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SCI-LIT LINKS QUICKPLAN
SIMPLE ELECTRICAL CIRCUITS
(QuickPlan developed by Dr. Ken Mechling, Clarion, Pennsylvania)

OVERVIEW: Children use a cell (battery), bulb, and one piece of wire to construct a simple electrical circuit and then read about switches, circuits, and electricity in Electro Wiz Electricity.

BOOKLINK: Electro Wiz Electricity by Penny Norman, Norman and Globus, Inc., 1998. ISBN 1-85697-933-4

SCIENCE ACTIVITY LINK: Using a cell, bulb, and wire, children predict how to put them together to make the bulb light. Then they try different arrangements, drawing a sketch of each that works.

OBJECTIVE: Children will predict, construct, test, and observe different simple circuits, recognize the circuit as a system of component parts, and describe how it works.

SCIENCE PROCESSES AND CONTENT: Processes—predicting, observing, inferring, defining operationally, communicating, classifying, formulating and testing hypotheses, recording data, and model building. Content—electricity, circuits and component parts, switches and open and closed circuits, cause and effect, conductors and insulators, systems and subsystems, and evidence.

NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS: Unifying concepts and processes, (1) Science as Inquiry, (2) Physical Science, (5) Science and Technology, (6) Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

MATERIALS: Book Electro Wiz Electricity, size D non-alkaline flashlight cells (batteries) the least expensive you can find, bare copper wire 12-14 cm long, flashlight bulbs, cell holders, bulb holders, clips, brass fasteners, notecard paper, paper clips

PROCEDURE:
1. Secure cells, bulbs, and wire enough for children to work individually or in pairs. Show the children one cell, one bulb, and one wire, make a sketch of these individually on the chalkboard, and ask the children to sketch a prediction of ways the three parts could be connected together to make the bulb light.

2. Have each child pick up one cell, one bulb, and one wire from distribution points around the classroom. Challenge them to make the bulb light and to make a sketch of each way (circuit) that was successful.

3. Discuss with the children the ways they made the bulb light. Explain that the three parts that they put together comprise a circuit. The cell is the source of electricity, the wire carries the electricity, and the bulb, or appliance, gives off light and heat. A circuit is a system made up of parts. Compare the children's circuits to circuits in the classroom, e.g. wires and appliances, their homes, or automobiles.

4. Now have the children make a simple circuit using the cell holders, bulb holders, and construct a switch using two brass fasteners and a paper clip. Have them switch the circuit on and off (close and open the circuit), demonstrate the switches in the classroom for comparison, and read all or parts of Electro Wiz Electricity, describing switches, electrical flow in loop circuits, and home circuits.

5. For an added challenge: A.) Have the children make a circuit tester by removing the switch and touching a variety of objects (coins, blocks, foil, pencils, pens, paper, wood, etc.) with the two wire ends to see if the bulb lights. Before they test the objects, have them predict which will cause the bulb to light and which will not. Have them record their data. Explain that those that do are called conductors and those that don't are called non-conductors or insulators. B.) Have the children use motors, buzzers, or do the word games in the back of Electro Wiz Electricity. C.) Construct series and parallel circuits.

SAFETY: Simple electrical circuits are safe to work with. Children will not get shocked or feel any electricity. However, make sure to use non-alkaline flashlight cells. Usually the least expensive cells work best, but to be sure, attach only a copper wire to the cell. If the wire gets too warm, use other cells.

RELATED BOOKS:
Batteries, Bulbs, and Wire by David Glover, Kingfisher, 1993. ISBN 1-85697-933-4
Switch On, Switch Off by Melvin Berger, Harper Trophy, 1989. ISBN 0-06-445097-X
The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, Scholastic, 1997. ISBN 0-590-44683-5

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