Electricity Guide

This Electricity Teacher’s Guide is designed to coordinate with the ScienceWiz™ Electricity Teacher’s Pack which includes a book and materials for each student in the class, as well as the ScienceWiz™ Electricity Workbook, which is sold separately.

Student Online Courseware Materials are also available.

Student interactive materials and assessments are provided in two forms:

1) One set of materials is for group sharing and for discussions at the front of the class. You can present these materials using this guide. This Teacher’s Guide includes a highlighting capability which converts the selected text into speech. Highlight text to speak. Double click outside the text anywhere on the window background to stop the speech-to-text feature.

2) The second set of materials is available for each individual student as courseware. The instructor will need to enter or bulk load the students’ names and email (or parents’) accounts to make use of this online courseware component. The online student courseware offers auto-grading and auto-record keeping.

Each student account also includes:

  • a highlighting capability which converts the selected text into speech.
  • an individual note-taking capability.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Please let us know what you like and what you would like to see changed or improved (pan@sciencewiz.com).

Module 1: Electricity

This introduction to electricity explores simple circuits within the context of circuit loops. The first module presents the topic of Electricity to early elementary students. This module consists of six separate 30 – 40 minute lessons. Animations, videos and online simulations are provided.

To prepare for this science module, read and study the book, pages 1-33.

Module 1 – Lesson 1: Electrical Current Flows in a Loop (pgs 1-6)

Learn about the idea of a “loop” in terms of potholder loops. Then extend that understanding to electrical circuit loops.

Bring to class: D-cell batteries — 1 per student.

Hand out a red potholder loop and an Electricity Book to each student.

Use the slide show feature to project each page on the large classroom screen.
Students will follow along using their own readers.


  • Below is a single slide.
  • Click on the image to launch the slide show.
  • Use the side arrows to go to the next or previous slide when there are multiple slides.
  • Use the X at the top right corner to end the slide show.

Read aloud page one.
Have each student shape their loop into a square, a triangle, a circle and an oval.

Emphasize: No matter what shape it is — IT IS STILL A LOOP.

Read aloud page two.
Write LOOP on the board.
Ask students to write it forward and backward.
What does it spell when they write it backward?

Read aloud page three.
Have students trace the electrical circuit loop with their fingers.

Hand out the battery bands, the alligator leads and the bulb holders.

Read aloud page 4-5.
Following the instructions, have each student build their own circuit loop to light the bulb.

Hand out the motors.
Collect the red loops.

Have students

  • Substitute a motor for the bulb holder (page 6).
  • Spin the pinwheels.
  • Color the paper circles with markers or crayons and spin the circles on the shaft of the motor. Try coloring while spinning.
  • NOTE: If holes in the paper become too large for the shaft of the motor, use a small strip of clear tape to tighten up the hole.

List the key words on the science vocabulary chart: loop, circuit, electrical current

Class Assignment: Setup with each student ScienceWiz™ Electricity Student Courseware Module logins and usage.

Module 1 – Lesson 2: Motors, Batteries & Buzzers (pgs 7-13)

Review: Have the students tell you what they did during the last lesson and
review the new vocabulary words. Review what a loop is and
how they built their own circuit loops with bulbs and motor.

Show the very short animation: Electricity Flows in a Loop

Collect and bring to class: D-cell batteries –1 per student and at least one voltmeter or multimeter, if possible.

Have students test the batteries for you prior to the lesson to identify and discard the low-voltage (below 1.4 V) batteries.
See the short video on how to use a volt meter or multimeter to test batteries.

Hand out the Electricity Books.
Lesson 2: Read aloud page 7-8.
Have students discuss familiar appliances, tools and toys that have electrical motors.

Have students: Read aloud and discuss batteries pages 9 -11.

They will learn:

  • to avoid shorting out a battery.
  • that all batteries need a load.

A load is defined as ANYTHING that slows down the flow of current between the two ends of the battery.

Hand out the materials needed to do the activities on pages 12-13:
batteries, battery bands, alligator leads, bulb holders, motors, LEDs and buzzers

Add the new key words to the science vocabulary chart: pinwheel, shaft, motor, buzzer, LED, load, electrical short, battery and electrical energy

Show the sequence of History Channel Videos (about 4 minutes each)

Class Assignment: Use the ScienceWiz™ Electricity Workbook to reinforce and further explain the idea of an electrical load, as shown. The vocabulary word LOAD is used by electrical engineers and electricians across the nation. Be prepared to discuss.

Module 1 – Lesson 3: Open and Closed Circuits (pgs 14-19)

Review: Have students tell you what they did during the last two classes and discuss the vocabulary words they have learned.
Have them recall: how they built their circuit loops; that a battery needs a load; and what loads they used in their circuits.

Show these three short animations, as part of the review.

Lesson 3: Learn about open and closed circuits.
Make a switch to open and close a circuit loop.
Send coded messages using the switch.

Collect and bring to class: D-cell batteries. Have students test the batteries.

Hand out the Electricity Books.

Read aloud pages 14 -15 to introduce the concept of open and closed circuit loops.

Hand out the materials for each student: 2 paper fasteners, switch card, large paperclip, 3 alligator leads, battery band, battery, motor and buzzer.

Build a switch to OPEN and CLOSE their circuits pages 16-17.

Have students send coded messages to a friend in the class: pages 18-19.
Have fun with Morse Code.

Add the new key words to the science vocabulary chart: open and closed circuit loops, electrical switch, and codes

Show two videos:
Video on Electricity: What is Electricity? (5 minutes)
Video on Electricity: Electricity Song (about 3 minutes)

Add the new key words to the science vocabulary chart: current, volts, voltage, electrons, amperes, amps, circuit, AC, DC

Class Assignment: Students are asked to see if they can solve the coded message in their Electricity Workbook on page 17.

Optional but wonderful fun: Show the Glowing Ice Ball Video Activity. Have students do this as a take home project.

Module 1 – Lesson 4: Test What Materials Conduct Electricity (pgs 20-23)

Review: Have students tell you what they have learned so far and have them define the new vocabulary words.

Show these four short animations as part of the review:

Collect and bring to class: D-cell batteries. Have students test the batteries.

Lesson 4: Test what materials conduct electricity. Learn that electrical current does not flow through everything.

Have students: Describe how they might make a circuit to test what will conduct and what will not conduct electricity.

Hand out the materials for each student: 3 alligator leads, battery band, battery, motor and buzzer, and test objects in the plastic bag and other objects, such as
coins and metal utensils.

Have students build the circuit shown on page 20.

Have students test materials at their desk and then test objects around the room.

List or group together the materials that conduct electricity (conductors).
List the materials that do not conduct electricity (insulators).

Read page 22 out loud. Discuss what did NOT conduct.
Read pages 23 out loud.

Link to the online simulation of this experiment.
Have the class predict whether a given object on the screen will conduct.
Then test it with the online simulator.

What categories of materials conduct electricity?

Add to the the science vocabulary chart the names of pure metals and metal alloys.
All pure metals are actually elements in The Periodic Table, the Alphabet of the Universe!

Add the new key words to the science vocabulary chart: conducts, conductors, insulators and metals.

Class Assignment: Students will be assigned the online sorting game to sort conduct ors and insulators. Students use either the crossword puzzle in the book or the one online crossword puzzle reinforce their electricity vocabulary.

Module 1 – Lesson 5: Build a Continuity Tester

Review: List common items that are conductors and insulators.
Show the five animations:

Review the vocabulary words on the chart.

Lesson 5: Build a continuity tester to solve continuity puzzles
Learn what a continuity tester is and which materials are insulators.

Handout to each student: 1 Cardboard rectangle and 4 paper fasteners, as well as 3 alligator leads, 1 buzzer, 1 battery band, 1 battery, the Electricity Workbook.

Build the circuit as shown below. Notice that they have substituted a buzzer for the light bulb circuit they made in the last class. This is a CONTINUITY TESTER. Have each student make a circuit puzzle as shown on page 13. Student’s work in pairs using their continuity testers to solve each other’s circuit puzzles.

Add the new key words to the chart: electrical continuity.

Recommend these two videos to your students to watch at home. These are long. The BBC program on the History of Electricity is a truly great and engaging documentary: BBC Documentary on Electricity, Shock and Awe! It is about 3 hours long, but well worth it. Another video of interest on Electricity and Magnetism is Walter Lewin’s MIT Children’s Museum Lecture on Electricity and Magnetism (1:41 hour long).

Module 1 – Lesson 6: Series and Parallel (pgs 24-25)

Review: Show the first five animations:

Review the vocabulary words on the chart.

Lesson 6: Series and parallel circuit loops
Learn how electricity flows through each component in turn.

Collect and bring to class:: D-cell batteries. Ask students to test the batteries.

Build one and two loop circuits as shown on pages 24 – 25. Have the students name which is a series circuit and which is a parallel circuit.

Ask students to discuss how well components work in each arrangement. Have them work with a partner to discover if 3 or even 4 parallel loops attached to a single battery will still function.

Add the new key words to the chart: series and parallel circuits

Class Assignment: Students link to the electricity simulation online as an interactive review. Complete pages 14 and 15 in the Electricity Workbook.

Module 2: Electricity Workbook & Assessment

The second module is intended to reinforce and conceptualize the concepts explored with hands-on projects in the first module. This module consists of four separate 30 – 40 minute lessons. The final lesson includes preparation for an individualized assessment provided in the courseware.

Module 2 – Lesson 1: Review key concepts learned in class.

Lesson 1: Hand out the Electricity Workbook and complete the
pages shown below.

Class Assignment: Students link to the DC circuit builder online and build their own circuits. How many of their classroom circuits can they replicate using this online tool? Can they use the voltmeter to test the voltage of the battery? Explore!

Module 2 – Lesson 2: Learn to represent circuits in simple picture diagrams

Lesson 2: Hand out the Electricity Workbook.

Start with the riddles, because they are fun.

Have your students learn the simple symbols for the components they used in the Electricity Book. Using these symbols, have them “read” and then “draw” their own diagrams, as indicated.

Class Assignment: Students link to the DC circuit builder online and build their own circuits. Can they replicate some to the circuits and switches above? Explore!

Module 2 – Lesson 3: Master Switches and Control

Class Assignment: Students link to the ScienceWiz™ Simulation Set 2. Have your students complete one of the switch challenges provided in their courseware. Use the DC Circuit Builder to build their circuits. Use the screen capture to take a picture and turn their circuits into you.

Module 2 – Lesson 4: Review and Assessment

Go over this quiz either at the front of the class or online using this link.

Have your students decode the secret password in the Electricity Workbook. Have them use it to download and print their achievement badges.

NOTE: Electricity is part of a progression that covers a major topic area in the Physical Sciences: Electricity and Magnetism. A basic understanding of this topic is essential to functioning in modern society as it extends into and impacts practically all aspects of our lives.

Class Assignment: Complete the courseware online assessment. When the results are in, go over the questions that students in England are asked about the topic of Electricity. Some of the questions and topic areas will be covered in later classes in this progression.

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