Lesson Plan

Using Squishy Circuits to Learn About Electrical Circuits

Designing and creating squishy circuits, students will learn about insulators, conductors, parallel and series circuits. Using trial and error they will create various types of circuits and be able to tell if the circuits work.
Linda W.
Technology coordinator
Wareham Middle School
Wareham, MA
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Objectives

Students will be able to...

1. Recognize that electricity in circuits requires a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass, and that electricity can produce light, heat and sound.

2.Identify and classify objects and materials that conduct electricity and objects and materials that are insulators of electricity.

3. Recognize the difference between parallel and series circuits.

Subjects
Science
electricity
energy
Grades 4 - 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 The Hook: Students will watch a short video introducing Squishy Circuits and how they can be used to learn about electricity.

The whole class will read about, watch (link above: How Stuff Works) and review how series circuits and parallel circuits are different.

Teaching methods: This lab gives students hands-on experiences creating and testing circuits.

Preparation for lesson: Before lesson begins, follow the directions below to make Conductive and Insulating Dough. One recipe makes enough for 30 students.

http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/conductiveDough.htm

http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/insulatingDough.htm

1.Students are learning about electricity and the types of circuits and how they produce electricity. There are many hands-on activities that will help students explore these concepts.

2.Using these digital tools, students will be able to first learn about squishy circuits and how building these circuits can light up a bulb, make a door bell ring.

3.Using conductive and insulating play dough students will build squishy circuits to demonstrate their understanding about building circuits. They will be able to take pictures of their circuits and upload them to the Squishy Circuits website. They will be able to explore various ways to build circuits and refer back to the videos for additional guidance and information.

Background Information: (Information available on Squishy Circuits website - http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/)

1. A series circuit only allows one path for the electricity to flow through.

2. The dough acts as a resistor and a wire.

3. A LED works in one direction. The longer wire or lead is towards the positive (red) side. Never directly connect the LED to a voltage source (battery) because it will burn out.

4. LEDs can be added however they will get more dim because there is less electricity available to power them.

5. A parallel circuit allows multiple paths for electricity to flow through.

6. LEDs or other electrical items are connected to the dough each in their own loop or circuit.

2 Direct Instruction, Guided practice, Independent

Demonstration: Students will be able to observe how a circuit is built and how electricity is generated. Students will be shown the materials that they will be using - two types of dough, LED, wire and if time a motor.

Students will be provided with materials.

In small groups they will be provided with the materials needed to create series and parallel circuits. They will design and build a variety of circuits and test each circuit by connecting LED lights. They will draw diagrams of which design worked and modify those that did not light up. They will classify each model into either a series or parallel circuit. Groups will be asked to demonstrate to the whole class their most creative circuit and describe and classify the circuit.

If there is time students can explore the following website and construct additional Squishy Circuits.

-http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/buildingCircuits.htm

 

3 Wrap up

Activity: Assessing

Students will watch "Electricity - Watching Electrons Flow" on BrainPop. This will help students review what an electric circuit is made of.

http://www.brainpop.com/technology/energytechnology/electriccircuits/

Assessment: In the Activity section complete the labeling diagram activity. Students will label the parts of an electrical  circuit.

http://www.brainpop.com/technology/energytechnology/electriccircuits/act...