Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Teaching About Electricity and Circuits With Interactive Notebook Ideas

In this blog post I plan to take you through a hands-on science lesson and show how I incorporate the interactive notebook.   I have chosen the topic of electrical circuits with conductors and insulators.  It is aligned with NGSS in the following way.

Science and Engineering Practices  
Asking Questions (for science) and Defining Problems (for engineering)
Developing and Using Models
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Constructing Explanations (for science) and Designing Solutions (for engineering)
Engaging in Argument from Evidence
Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Crosscutting Concepts
Energy and matter 

Disciplinary Core Ideas

PS3 Energy

Let’s assume the students have already learned to make a simple circuit.  In this activity they will be testing various objects to discover if the are conductors or insulators. 

Give students the materials they will need to complete a circuit.   They will need a D cell battery with a large rubber band or electrical tape to hold the wires in place, three electrical wires, a light bulb (light bulb holder if desired) and items to test.   Items to test can be house hold objects such as a penny, a paper clip, a tooth pick, a plastic tie, a balloon, a slice of potato, paper, a piece of foil, etc. 

Making Predictions: Have the students predict and record in their notebook which items will allow electricity to pass through and which will block the electricity.  Testing Items and Recording Data: After the students have made the predictions they will test the materials and record their findings on a T-chart, which will be placed in their notebook. 
Discussion: When the students are finished testing materials, the teacher will lead them in a discussion.  What were your findings? What similarities and differences did you find between materials?  Did you notice any patterns? What would you call an object or substance that allows electricity to pass through it?  What would you call an object or substance that stops the electricity from passing though?  Can you think of any conductors or insulators in our room? 
Students Record Conclusions: In their notebooks students will add conclusions and ideas.  Here are a few examples: 

So, as you can see, the students used the interactive notebook to record their predictions, write definitions based on their exploration, record ideas and explain concepts.  To challenge students I would ask them to create a switch using the same materials.  For more information on electrical circuits and interactive notebooks, see my blog post on Squishy Circuits Squishy Circuits Lesson and 

You can have this lesson and an entire unit on circuit electricity from my store hCircuit Electricity STEM Unit
Electrical Circuit Unit

LED Light STEM Lesson  
This terrific lesson comes with a response sheet and inserts for interactive notebooks.  Great for all grade levels.  Only $1.20

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Please download this free foldable template Interlocking fold