Mad Scientist: Electric Circuits
Students will be able to construct series and parallel circuits to create electricity, as well as analyze the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Give students three minutes to write all the ways that they have used electricity that day.
- Ask students to write down all they know about electricity.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (20 minutes)
- Show students a photograph of a city during a blackout and a photograph of a city with electricity.
- Guide the whole group in completing a Venn diagram on the board comparing and contrasting the two photographs.
- Show students the diagrams of series and parallel circuits.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (30 minutes)
- Divide your class into groups.
- Give each group an electrical circuit kit to explore.
- Direct your students to create a series circuit and a parallel circuit.
- Instruct your students to take videos of their circuits in action. Have them record every trial they attempt.
- Have them show their progress in journals, writing and drawing what their circuits look like and do.
Independent Working Time (25 minutes)
- On their own, have each student conduct research regarding the advantages and disadvantages of series and parallel circuits.
- Give your students access to computers or books that explain in more detail how circuits function.
- Going back to their groups, have your students discuss the role of each circuit in different settings.
- Enrichment: Ask your students to brainstorm a list of related topics. Have them conduct independent investigations and create a presentation to share with the class.
- Support: Provide written research materials in a variety of reading levels. Have them refer to these materials while they are creating circuits in groups.
- Have your students use video cameras to document their process.
- Encourage them to use online resources to find information about series and parallel circuits.
Assessment (15 minutes)
- Watch each of the students' videos, ensuring that by the end of the session, they have learned the differences between series and parallel circuits.
Review and Closing (10 minutes)
- Select one group's video to demonstrate to the class.
- Show your students the correct way to make series and parallel circuits.
- Discuss real world examples of where these circuits might be found.