Lesson Plan

Simple Circuits

Students will explain what electricity is, build simple circuits to light a bulb and turn on a motor, and persuade others to conserve electricity.
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...

Explain what electricity is,  how it is produced, and what will happen if we run out.

Build and compare simple circuits with a focus on how connections are made.

Identify the essential components of an electric circuit and understand their functions. 


Grades 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Conversing

Teacher turns out the lights and ask students what happened (The lights went out). Why? (You turned off the switch). What happened when I turned off the switch? (Turned off the electricity). What is electricity? (a form of energy that can power things. We use electricity for light). Today we are going to be talking about electricity and how it works, how it turns on and off, and how it moves from one thing to another.

2 Direct Instruction

New concepts are introduced. 

Students will watch a pre-training video on their iPads to introduce them to the key terms for this lesson such as a D-Cell, an electricity source, an electricity receiver, a circuit, and components (such as wires, switches, motors, battery, etc) without giving away the concept that needs to be discovered through the lesson. 

After watching the video on their iPads, the teacher will pose the question to the students: How can we use the components to make a lightbulb light? 

Groups will brainstorm their ideas and draw up their idea in Skitch. 

3 Guided Practice

This provides for multiple opportunities for practice and it checks for understanding. 

Students will show the teacher their idea before they get the materials they believe are necessary to light a lightbulb. They will test their thoughts and see if it works. When it does not work (or even if it does) have students watch the BrainPOP video titled Electric Circuits on their iPads. When they are done watching the video, students will discuss in their groups again what they can do differently to make their lightbulb light. Students will fix their circuits that they have created until the lightbulb lights. They will continue on to add a switch into their circuit and discuss what the switch will do to their circuit. Once they have their circuit completed, they will take a picture of it and upload it to the media album on Schoology titled Picture of Lighting a Bulb.

Students will access the vocabulary sheet that is in Schoology. They will open it in Paperport notes via Evernote. This will allow them to fill in the vocabulary on their iPads. After they vocabulary is filled out, students will screenshot it so they can have it to study. 

4 Independent Practice

After students work together in groups to create their lightbulb circuit, students will apply what they learned into the creation of their own circuit with a motor. This will be used as the assessment method for the learning outcomes. 

Once they have created their working circuit, they will take a picture of it and open it in Skitch. Students will annotate their picture with arrows and words explaining what each component of the circuit is and email it to the teacher. 

The directions and rubric for the circuit are below:

Directions for Motor Circuit:

Independently you will build a simple circuit to make a motor run. Use what you know from making a light bulb work.

Create your circuit and make sure the motor is running.
Take a picture of your circuit and open it in Skitch.
Use Skitch to annotate your circuit. Label all components of your working circuit.
Email your final product to the teacher.

You will be assessed on the following:


4- The circuit is assembled properly and includes all parts.

3- The circuit is assembled properly and includes all parts.

2- The circuit is assembled, but is missing a part.

1- The circuit is not assembled properly and is missing a few parts.


4- All components are labeled correctly and are easy to determine.

3- All components are labeled correctly and can be determined.

2- Most components are labeled correctly.

1- Only a few components are labeled correctly.

5 Wrap-Up

This is an extension of the first outcome of learning what electricity is and how it is produced and can also be considered a homework activity if there is not enought time in school. It will also integrate the topic of persuase writing which is a writing topic in 4th grade. Students will watch another BrainPOP video titled Current Electricity. This video ends with the character saying "We all have to do our part to conserve electricity because...."

Students will research reasons why we should conserve electricity. They will create a short persuasive video on the reasons why we need to conserve electricity.

The directions and assessment are below:

Directions for Electricity Persuasive Video:

Independently you will research electricity and make a persuasive video about why we should conserve it.

Research electricity conservation.
Come up with at least THREE reasons why we need to conserve it.
Record yourself in a short video explaining these three reasons.
Upload your video to the Schoology in Science/Magnetism and Electricity/Simple Circuits/Persuasive Video- Electricity Conservation

You will be assessed on the following: 


4- You included more than three logical reasons why we should conserve electricity.

3- You included three logical reasons why we should conserve electricity.

2- You included two logical reasons why we should conserve electricity.

1- You included one or fewer logical reasons why we should conserve electricity.

Video Quality

4- Your voice could be heard, you kept the audience’s attention the entire time.

3- Your voice could be hear, you kept the audience’s attention most of the time.

2- Your voice could usually be heard, you somewhat kept the audience’s attention.

1- Your voice was hard to hear, you did not keep the audience’s attention.