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, using motors.
Science content
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.
As an introduction, or after some experimentation discuss what electricity actually is to allow students to visualize what is happening in their circuits: a flow of electrons (or tiny particles/a piece of an atom) along the wires. Students can follow their path around their circuit and through any branches that they make. Younger students may understand the analogy of water flowing through a pipe.
Some things allow electrons to move through them (conductors, like tin foil), some things don’t.

Allow students to freely experiment with home made wires and bulbs, showing the younger students exactly how to make a loop to light a bulb.
The youngest students will enjoy turning the light bulb on and off.
Or follow with a game turning the light on and off: morse code game or the steady hand game.

Or test for conducting electricity to find out which materials in the classroom do and don't conduct electricity.

Or add another component to the circuit: Motor free play.


ingridscience afterschool: Home made wire and bulb circuits, followed by steady hand game
Tyee Ks: step by step to make a bulb light, then steady hand game at the carpet passing a demonstration unit around the circle
Tyee primaries: free play circuits only
Tyee intermediates: free play, then added motor, then added optional steady hand game

Attached documents
Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6
Gr 7
Teaching Site
Gordon Elementary Science Club
ingridscience afterschool
Tyee Elementary