August 18, 2015
by Rebecca Turner

Lesson plan

Mad Scientist: Electric Circuits

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Grade Subject

Students will be able to construct series and parallel circuits to create electricity, as well as analyze the advantages and disadvantages of both.

(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(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.

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