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TEKS Objective

The student is expected to differentiate among forms of energy, including mechanical, sound, electrical, light, and heat/thermal.

Essential Understanding

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

Science Background

Science of Electricity: US Energy Information Administration (website) - Covers the basics of electricity.

Science of Electricity
Energy Kids, US Energy Information Administration,

The Wonders of Electricity and Magnetism: MIT World (video) - Professor Walter Lewin gives a public lecture (1 hr 41m) on electricity and magnetism, including many interesting demonstrations.

The Wonders of Electricity and Magnetism
Walter Lewin, MIT World,

Energy Tutorial: National Fuel Cell Research Center (website) - Detailed descriptions of different energy sources employed for electricity generation, transportation, heating, etc.

Energy Tutorial
National Fuel Cell Research Center,

Signature Lesson

Brown Bag Science: (website) - Students learn, through inquiry and discovery, how electricity works. Good introduction to the concept of electricity, including hands-on work with circuits, motors, conductors, etc.

Brown Bag Science
by Judy Adair,

Supporting Lessons

Static Electricity: CSIRO (website) - Simple static electricity investigation featuring a balloon to teach students about positive and negative charges.

Static Electricity
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,

Motor Effect: Exploratorium (website) - Students experiment with simple electric motors and magnets to learn about the relationship between electricity and magnetism.

Motor Effect

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Introduction to Energy: The NEED Project (PDF) - Explains different energy sources and the usage levels for various energy sources in the United States.

Introduction to Energy
The NEED Project,

Charged or Not Charged: Kids Science Experiments (website) - Simple investigation in which students demonstrate how to create an electrical charge.

Charged or Not Charged
Kids Science Experiments,

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

The Tech Museum,

Assessment Ideas

Provide student groups with a battery, a light bulb, and one wire. Have them experiment with these items and determine/demonstrate how to light up the bulb. Students should record and label the circuit created in their science notebooks.

Literature Connections

Electricity, Mullins, M. (ISBN: 978-0531265819)

The Story of Electricity. Bailey, Jacqui (ISBN-13: 978-1404811294)

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

Discovering Electricity. Bains, Rae (ISBN-13: 978-0893755652)

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.

(4.5A) Physical Properties of Matter
The student is expected to measure, compare, and contrast physical properties of matter, including size, mass, volume, states (solid, liquid, gas), temperature, magnetism, and the ability to sink or float.

(4.6B) Conductors and Insulators
The student is expected to differentiate between conductors and insulators.

(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 students about electricity, circuits, etc.

Electricity Teaching Resources
Woodlands Junior School Science Zone,

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