GEMS Teacher's Guide for Grades 3-6
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.
Grade Level: 3-6
Sessions: 11 Sessions