Saturday, November 29, 2014

Upper Elementary Electricity Unit Ideas

My students are progressing to the electricity section of the chapter about energy in their science books. They are going to solidify their understanding of conductors and insulators, series and parallel circuits, static electricity, positive charges, negative charges, and neutral charges.

Before leaving for Thanksgiving Break, my students watched this video from Popular Mechanics Kids, which amazed them because the video was made in 1997 and felt more "current" to them--

I chose that video because it reviewed quite a few applications using electricity, which basically kept everyone interested!

When we delve into our unit, we are going to make electromagnets, which I haven't done with students in quite some time. We are also going to play around with littleBits more than we did a few months ago when we learned about the possibilities of what we could construct with them. There is also the Makey-Makey, where students make a controller for a video game, piano stairs, and so much more using conductive materials.

One thing my students had the opportunity to do last year (and will now have the opportunity to do during our electricity unit) was play around with squishy circuits when they visited an eighth grade classroom during our school's science extravaganza of sorts. This tutorial from St. Thomas University has students making conductive and insulating dough, which a few students may do with me after school-- or with a volunteer during school. Students then use 10mm diffused lens LEDs, battery packs, buzzers, and other materials to make series and parallel circuits.

We are also going to connect electricity to the holiday season. An interesting tidbit I will share with the students is about the origination of electric Christmas lights. How Stuff Works has a great explanation of how lights work, which I will be connecting to my explanation about parallel circuits. Last, my students and Technology Club members will learn about paper circuitry using circuitry stickers. In this article from Middleweb, sixth grade students illuminated poetry, which I find quite intriguing and wonderful!

Do you have any ideas for our electricity unit? Of course, we will be taking notes as well so we can use them to apply to our hands-on lessons. I think we will have a phenomenal December because there is quite a bit to look forward to!

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