Wednesday, December 28, 2016



Lead with video of Bill Nye asking questions about electricity or ask what is electricity


Provide wires, battery, lamp, switch and challenge students to make the bulb glow
Discuss what worked and what didn't


Introduce idea of closed circuit, energy source (battery), electrons


  • basic building blocks of life and matter.
  • exist in over a hundred different forms as chemical elements like hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and copper. 
  • are tiny - a copper penny (if it actually were made of 100% copper) would have 32,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms of copper inside it.
  • are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons with a center and surrounding the nucleus are a group of orbiting electrons.

Rutherford atom model

  • electron can escape orbit of the atom and become free. Free electrons allow us to move charge, which is what electricity is all about.
  • Elements with very mobile electrons, are called conductors. These are the types of materials we want to use to make wires and other components which aid in electron flow. Metals like copper, silver, and gold are usually our top choices for good conductors.
  • Elements with low conductivity are called insulators. Insulators serve a very important purpose: they prevent the flow of electrons. Popular insulators include glass, rubber, plastic, and air.

Model a Circuit

  • have students line up in circle - hand each a potato
  • label one person a battery, one a light
  • ask them to pass the potatos around pretending they are electrons, lighting up the light
Explain that a circuit is a closed, never-ending loop of conductive material. conductive wire? components? NO insulating gaps. Electrons are not generated, just passed around.


Make a flashlight to take home

  • 2 D cell batteries 
  • Number 22 insulated copper bell wire 
  • Cardboard tube (paper towel) cut to 5.125" in length 
  • 3-volt flashlight bulb 
  • 2 brass fasteners (brads) 
  • Small cardboard piece for holding bulb 
  • Paper clip 
  • Electrical Tape 
  • Bathroom-size paper cup

Demonstration: Make and Compare batteries

Potato Battery vs.
Lemon Battery vs.
Range of household batteries

  • batteries AA, AAA, C, D
  • potatoes
  • lemons
  • LED light bulb
  • galvanized nails
  • pennies
  • alligator clips
  • voltmeter


Ask what would happen if light-bulb burns out?