Lesson Plan

Conductors and Insulators

Students will learn about the properties of conductors and insulators, test materials for conductivity, and extend their thinking of what a conductor can be
Anna P.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 4
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

Identify the characterstics of conductors and insulators.

Categorize materials into conductor and insulator groups.


Grades 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Debating

The teacher will tell the students that he/she has a variety of everyday materials that can be put into a circuit and allow the circuit to continue to work. The teacher will hold up the bag of materials and tell the students that they will have to decide which of the materials will allow the circuit to continue to work and which will not. 

Groups will be given a bag of test objects and divide them into two groups (one group that will allow a circuit to keep working, and one that will not).

2 Direct Instruction

After students sort out the two groups of materials, the teacher will pose a new question. "How can we find out if these materials will work?" After a class discussion, the teacher will guide the students to the idea that we could build a circuit and use the material as a component in the circuit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM97IcESsiQ follow the link to a video that explains about circuits and how conductors can help "close" a circuit.

In the end, the students will determine that they can check their materials by opening a switch and touching the material to both ends of the switch. Groups will build a circuit with an open switch. They will test each material to see if their predictions were correct. As they test the materials, the will keep track of the materials that do and do not allow the circuits to keep working. They will access the document on Schoology and send it to Evernote. They will open it up via Notability to type in their findings.

3 Guided Practice

Students will watch a BrainPOP video titled Insulators and Conductors. When they are done, the class will recap what the definition of a conductor is and what an insulator is. The teacher will pose the next question. How can we find different conductors and insulators around the school?

Students will determine that they can use their circuits as "conductor detectors." Students will work in their science groups to find 4 things around the room that are conductors and 4 things that are insulators. They will take pictures of all of them. When they are done, they will choose one of each to upload to the album for conductors and insulators on Schoology. 

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Assessing

Students will follow the link below. First, the site allows practice for students in creating circuits and closing the circuit with different conductors. Then, the students will take a 10 point quiz about conductors and insulators. When they finish, they will take a screenshot of their score and email it to their teacher. 


5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Investigating

As a group- the class will build a circuit that includes the use of play dough. After it is built, students will need to ponder the question: Why was playdough able to be used in the circuit? This question will be answered at home. As they research this at home, they will post their thoughts to the Schoology discussion titled Play dough and Circuits.