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CAN ELECTRICITY BE SHOCKING OR IS IT DELIGHTFUL?
Grades 6 - 8

Overview

In this lesson and its extension opportunities the students should have the opportunity to learn the difference between AC and DC, how electricity is produced and how to create a complete circuit. By following directions and using the metric system the students should be creating quiz boards which can be used in all subject applications. A quiz board consists of a cardboard box which has a series of circuits. The students should create matching questions, and a light will go on when the answer is correct.
ITV Series
"Starfinder #12: Tapping the Sun's Power"
"Electricity #4: Current Electricity"
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Materials
Circuit Activity

Per group of three to four students

The Question Box

Per group of three to four students
Vocabulary
current - the flow of electrical charges from one point to another.

amperes - the amount of electric charges that pass a point in a given amount of time. This is the unit that measures current.

voltage - this is the push that causes electrons to move in a wire.

volts - this is the unit that measures voltage.

resistance - this is the opposition of the circuit to the flow of electrons.

ohms - this is the unit of resistance.

power - is the rate at which electrical energy is changed into other forms.

watts - this is the unit of power.

circuit - a complete path for the flow of electricity.
Pre-Viewing Activities
Review new vocabulary

As the students come in, assign them to groups using playing cards. At each table have all the materials for the first activity. Have the directions printed on the chalkboard or printed on a sheet of paper at each group. The directions are: "Use the materials in front of you to make the light bulb light. Then on a clean sheet of paper draw what you created."


Note to the teacher:
If you wish, you can modify the above activity by giving the students the battery, light bulb, and only the unstripped wires. Have the students ask you if they need anything. If and when they ask for something to strip the wires with, then trade the wires for stripped wires. This modification requires more teacher work, but it works better. After three to five minutes, stop the activity and ask what happened: "Why did the bulb light in some groups and not in all groups?" Have groups share what they did.

Explain that at the end of this class they should be able to:

1) Describe what electricity is and how it is produced
2) Create a complete circuit
3) Determine the amperage using a rate formula
4) Tell the difference between DC and AC
5) Follow directions and use metric measurement to build a question box.

Focus Viewing
Explain that at the end of this class they should be able to:

1) Describe what electricity is and how it is produced
2) Create a complete circuit
3) Determine the amperage using a rate formula
4) Tell the difference between DC and AC
5) Follow directions and use metric measurement to build a question box.


Viewing Activities
BEGIN the video Starfinder #12: Tapping the Sun's Power after the narrator says, "To understand this you have to look into the matter that makes up the universe, tiny building blocks called atoms." Start on the picture of the atom and stop after the narrator says, "It's easier for the valence electrons to be tossed out of their place." The students should be able to name the parts of an atom and tell which part of the atom causes electricity. The part of the atom that causes electricity is a deduction question. (electrons) Do not give the answer to this question. They will keep on looking.

In the next video segment the students should focus on the differences between static and current electricity and be able to tell you one mistake Ben Franklin made. Begin the video Electricity #4: Current Electricity right after the title and pause where the narrator says "Franklin hypothesized that the charge moving through the wire was positive." Ask the class what mistake Franklin made. Don't give the answer. RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says, "and insert a light bulb in the gap." Now have the class predict what will happen and watch to see if their prediction is correct. RESUME and PAUSE after the narrator says "safer more reliable sources must be used." Again have the class predict what will happen if we connect the two spheres and watch to check their predictions. RESUME and PAUSE after the narrator says, "nothing further will happen." Now tie up this last section with questions and discussion. Ask about Ben Franklin's mistake and why he made the mistake. Have the students give you a definition of current electricity. Use this time to review static electricity and how it differs from current electricity.

In this next segment the students will focus on how a battery works. RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says "we call these two charged parts electrodes." Ask, "What is an electrode? Which electrode is positive and which is negative? How does a battery work?" Don't answer the last question if the students can not get it. Ask the students to predict what will happen if you connect both electrodes, and how we can use this.

RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says "current electricity is the name given to this constant flow of charges." Ask, "What happens when we connect both electrodes? What is current electricity? What can we do with current electricity?" As they view the next segment, the students should focus on the following: "What is a simple circuit? What are the parts of a simple circuit?" RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says, "if a gap exists" and ask the students to name this gap. Go over and turn off and on the lights and ask the name of the gap again, if they didn't get it the first time. Ask the students what a simple circuit is and the names of its parts. As they view the next segment students should be able to tell the difference between direct and alternating current.

RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says, "This circuit is said to illustrate direct current because the electrons continually flow in the same direction." Ask someone to define direct current. If they understand direct current have them try to give you a definition of alternating current. Have them write this definition down and check it by watching the next segment.

RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says "you will only see direct currents." Ask for a definition of alternating current and how alternating current differs from direct current. The students' focus for the next segment is to give two ways we can create electricity.

RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says "there is a negative electrode and a positive electrode." Have the students name the two other ways you can create electricity. The students should focus on how a circuit is like a tube of water and how it's different as they watch the next segment.

RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says, "The circuit that connects a light bulb would look like this." Ask the students to tell you what the symbol for a battery looks like.

RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says "an electron is forced out the other end." The students should be able to tell you that a wire is like the tube of water for whatever goes in one end goes out the other end. The students will have a harder time telling you that a circuit is a continuos loop while the tube of water is not. Lead them to this by drawing the two on the chalkboard or reviewing the last segment with no sound. Tell your students to focus on how they are different. (You will remove the sound so they are not distracted by the words.)

In the next segment have the students focus on the following: "What is current? Is current the same in all parts of a simple circuit?" RESUME and PAUSE where the narrator says "and is an important part of a circuit." After students are able to answer the last two questions, ask for a formula for current. This is their focus for the last segment.

RESUME and STOP where the narrator says, "How do we express the amount of charge?" Say, "We express the amount of charge in amperes. What is the formula for amperes?" Write the formula on the chalkboard. Ask questions like this: "If the charge is 15 units and the time is three seconds what would be the current?" Ask a couple of similar questions.
Post-Viewing Activities
Explain to the students that they will be doing an activity with DC that will test their ability to measure, follow directions, and use your new knowledge of electricity. Give out direction sheets and have the students read the directions first. Give them everything they need and let them work.

They will be creating a question board. They will be setting up the circuit so that it goes from the battery to the switch to a terminal connected to the wire question selector. The other side of the battery goes to a LED to a terminal attached to the wire answer selector. The answers and questions are wired together so that when the question selector touches a question and the answer selector touches the correct answer and the button is pushed, a light goes on. The button prevents the finding of answers by electronically looking and not reading questions.

Before starting the teacher should do the following. This will give the students two less places to make mistakes: 1) Solder or attach the switch between two pieces of wire fifteen centimeters long. We will call this the switch wire. 2) Solder or attach the LED between two pieces of wire fifteen centimeters long. We will call this the LED wire. This wire is direction sensitive. If it doesn't work one way - turn it around. NOTE: The battery holder is made from two paper clips and a rubber band. The paper clips are bent halfway open in the middle so they still have the bends at both ends. After half of the paper clips reinserted into the box and wired, the other half is used to connect both ends of the battery. Small pieces of aluminum foil will make sure there is a good connection. See the direction sheet for complete directions.

When the students are finished they are to develop questions and answers about electricity and place the questions by the left brass paper fastener. The answers are placed next to the right brass paper fastener. Using scotch tape put the answers and questions into place. Have students check out their question boxes to make sure it works and the questions are set up correctly. Then have the students switch with the other groups and try their question boxes. x - paper clips to hold battery in place X - paper fasteners All wires can be on top of the box except the wires that attach row a b c d e to row A B C D E
Action Plan
Have someone from the local electric company talk to your class about how electricity is generated.

Visit a local power plant.

Use a local teacher forum on one of the computer on-line services and ask the teachers across the country to have the students find out about the cost of electric power in their locality.
Extensions
Science, Economics and Math: Go shopping and look at the energy stickers on appliances or get some stickers and bring them to class. How does what we pay for appliances determine how efficient it is? Determine how much energy is consumed by different appliances with different efficiencies.

Science, Social Studies and English: Have the students find out how electricity has changed history. Write an essay about what life would be like without electricity. Have the students find out about the Amish. Have the students do a report on the industrial revolution.
All: Create a quiz board for any subject. Replace the questions and answers with current subject questions and answers.
Worksheet
Click here to view the worksheet associated with this lesson.

NOTE TO TEACHER

Language Arts: Partners can write narratives about the digestive system to be shared with other grades if the teachers wish a presentation. The students can tour the school with Tan Kraft body buddy and narrative. Read The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen. Mathematics: Measure the length of the small intestines and the large intestines after the students cut them out and before they put them in a bag. Measure by inches and centimeters. Science: Windows On Science - Data Optical Corp. Life Science, Volume II, Warren, New Jersey can be accessed or photographs and video shorts. The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Creative Technology, 1993.

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