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Conductors and Insulators

Conductors and Insulators

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to differentiate between conductors and insulators.

Essential Understanding

The student knows that energy exists in many forms and can be observed in cycles, patterns, and systems.

Science Background

Conduction: Houston PBS (website) - Explanation of electrical conduction.

Houston PBS,

Conductors and Insulators: NDT Resource Center (website) - Interactive tutorial on insulators and conductors.

Conductors and Insulators
NDT Resource Center,

Conductors and Insulators: The Physics Classroom (website) - Detailed explanation of how different objects behave in the presence of electricity. A brief assessment at the end of the article allows teachers to test their own (or their students’) understanding of the concepts presented.

Conductors and Insulators
The Physics Classroom,

Signature Lesson

Testing Electrical Conductivity: TeacherVision(website) – Students investigate Electrical Conductivity.

Testing Electrical Conductivity

Supporting Lessons

Conductors and Insulators: University of Houston (website) - Texas standards-based investigation for testing conductors and insulators.

Conductors and Insulators
University of Houston,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Electricity: The Tech Museum (website) - Activities on conductors, insulators and other topics related to electricity, with interactive animations and self-checks.

The Tech Museum,

Conductors and Insulators: (website) - Students build a simple circuit and test the conductivity of various objects.

Conductors and Insulators

Assessment Ideas

Provide students with a set of objects, such as aluminum foil, block of wood, sheet of paper, paper clip, etc., and ask them to identify which items will conduct electricity and which ones will not.

Literature Connections

Conductors and Insulators. Oxlade, Chris (ISBN-13: 978-1432956783)

Dear Mr. Henshaw. Cleary, Beverly (ISBN-13: 978-0688024055)

DK Eyewitness Series: Electricity 77. Parker, Steve (ISBN-13: 978-0751361322)

Conductors and Insulators. Royston, Angela (ISBN-13: 978-0431137261) 

Related Science TEKS

(4.4A) Tools for Collecting and Analyzing Information
The student is expected to collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, mirrors, spring scales, pan balances, triple beam balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, compasses, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

(4.6A) Forms of Energy
The student is expected to differentiate among forms of energy, including mechanical, sound, electrical, light, and heat/thermal.

(4.6C) Flow of Electricity in Circuits
The student is expected to demonstrate that electricity travels in a closed path, creating an electrical circuit, and explore an electromagnetic field.

Related Math TEKS

4.14D  The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

4.16B   The student is expected to justify why an answer is reasonable and explain the solution process.

Additional Resources

Electricity Teaching Resources: Science Zone (website) - Links to online games and activities that teach concepts related to electricity.

Electricity Teaching Resources
Science Zone, by Mandy Barrow,

Games for Kids: Science Kids (website) - Students learn about electrical circuits as they experiment with conductors and power sources in this fun, interactive activity.

Games for Kids
Science Kids,

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