Electric Circuits: Inventive Physical
GEMS Teacher's Guide for Grades 36
Written by John Erickson and Kevin Beals
with Florence Stone
This guide provides a safe, active, and engaging introduction
to electricity and electric circuits. The activities spark creativity
as students invent their own electrical gadgets, using inexpensive
and readily available materials, such as plastic film canisters
and holiday lights. The unit opens as students investigate an
array of clever electrical devices, first exploring their functions,
then learning how their circuits work. The contributions of famous
inventors, as well as child inventors, are highlighted.
Students keep an "Inventor's Journal," recording the
development of their electrical knowledge, schematic diagrams,
and design ideas. Electrical safety is emphasized throughout the
unit. Students explore simple and series circuits; learn about
short circuits, and investigate the role of batteries, resistance,
conductors and insulators. They invent their own switch design
and learn how to draw schematic diagrams. In Part II, for older
or more advanced students, they build and compare series and parallel
circuits, and pair up to create their own electrical inventions.
The unit culminates in an Electric Inventions Festival.
Electric Circuits makes strong connections to the National
Science Education Standards for Physical Science, Science and
Technology, Science as Inquiry, and History and Nature of Science.
What materials are needed to present this unit? See the full list.