Electricity

Science Year 3/4 Electric Personalities

Create your own amazing electric powered person or robot to impress your friends and family. Design a face with exciting electrical components such as a nose that buzzes when you press it or eyes that light up at the flick of a switch! You could even design some electrical accessories like a revolving bowtie or hat! The possibilities are endless so let your imagination run riot! First you will need to brush up on your electrical knowledge and expertise so let’s get started!

Session 1 It’s Electric

Objectives

We use electricity every day of our lives to help us with almost every task we do. Look at a selection of devices and appliances and explore the many different functions they have. Learn some fascinating electrical facts by playing a game and design posters and leaflets to help people stay safe when using electricity.

Science Objectives
i) Identify common appliances that run on electricity.

Working Scientifically

  1. Asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.
  2. Identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Card zone labels
  • Exploration Sheets

Additional Resources

  • 3-4 plug in appliances that do different jobs, e.g. hair drier, kettle, lamp, CD player
  • 3-4 different battery powered toys, e.g. push-button baby toy with sounds, toy vehicle, Karaoke machine, light up toy
  • Selection of 6-8 different cells (batteries) - size, shape, voltage
  • 3-4 torches each disassembled with all parts including the batteries in a sealable plastic bag or lidded tub
  • 3-4 battery powered devices, e.g. fairy lights, hand held fan, book light, radio
  • Paper, pens, pencils, felt tipped pens

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Explore a variety of electrical items and begin to ask questions, look for similarities and differences and form ideas and theories.
  • Learn some basic scientific facts and vocabulary about electricity as an energy source.

Activities

  1. Actively explore some electrical appliances and devices to ask questions and begin to answer them (Yrs3&4).
  2. Play an active electrical guessing game to learn basic electrical concepts and vocabulary (Yrs3&4).
  3. Create either a poster (Yr3) or a leaflet (Yr4) explaining the dangers of electricity.
  4. Play a memory game to highlight the versatility of electricity as a power source (Yrs3&4).

Investigation
Introduce the outcome – by the end of the block you will create your own electric personality – a person or robot that is powered by electricity. But first you will need to become an expert on electricity. Investigate electrical components and identify items that run on electricity – both mains and battery power. (exploring, classifying and identifying, analysing secondary sources)
Year 3 – Draw and illustrate 3 facts about electricity
Year 4 – Draw and illustrate 5 facts about electricity.

Vocabulary
Electricity, cell, battery, plug, mains, cable, appliance, device, connection, power, danger, safety

Session 2 Crocodiles, Cells and Circuits

Objectives

How can you light a bulb with 2 leads and a cell (battery)? It’s your job to experiment and find out! You will discover a mysterious fact about electricity and the way it flows. Can you use this fact to predict which devices will work and which will not from a series of electrical scenarios?

Science Objectives
i) Construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers.
ii) Identify whether or not a lamp will light in a simple series circuit, based on whether or not the lamp is part of a complete loop with a battery.

Working Scientifically

  1. Using results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.
  2. Identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.
  3. Using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Prediction Sheets
  • ‘Is it a circuit?’ sheets

Additional Resources

  • Cells (batteries)
  • Double ended crocodile clip lead
  • Bulbs
  • Bulb holders
  • Buzzers
  • Motors
  • Sandwich bags

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Explore how electrical components can be arranged to make a bulb light up and draw conclusions.
  • Make predictions and test them out.


Activities

  1. Actively explore how a bulb can be lit using a cell and 2 leads (Yr3&4)
  2. Draw their own conclusions that a continuous loop or circuit is necessary for electricity to flow (Yrss3&4)
  3. Make predictions on which drawn “circuits” will work and which will not and give an explanation for their theory (Yrs3&4)
  4. Test out their ideas and write their results in a table (Yrs3&4)


Investigation
Discover that electricity can be very dangerous. Research some of the dangers of electricity using interactive websites and books (analysing secondary sources)
Year 3 – Make safety posters to position in danger points around the school drawing attention to the potential dangers
Year 4 – Make a safety leaflet to remind people of the dangers of using electricity


Vocabulary
Electricity, circuit, battery, plug, device, wire, lead, crocodile clip, bulb, bulb holder, buzzer, connection, power, cell, energy, flow, current

Session 3 Conductors and Insulators

Objectives

It’s time to consider some electrical conundrums. How can you switch a circuit on and off? How can you recognise different components in simple circuit diagrams? Which materials allow electrical currents to pass through them and which do not? You will discover the answers through playing a game and devising an investigation.

Science Objectives
i) Recognise that a switch opens and closes a circuit and associate this with whether or not a lamp lights in a simple series circuit
ii) Recognise some common conductors and insulators, and associate metals with being good conductors

Working Scientifically

  1. Setting up simple practical enquiries, comparative and fair test
  2. Gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions
  3. Recording findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables


You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • A homemade paperclip switch (see Teachers’ Notes)
  • Cells (batteries) in battery holders (one power source per pair)
  • Double ended crocodile clip leads (3 per pair of children)
  • A bulb in a bulb holder per pair of children
  • A large selection of items to be tested (see Teachers’ Notes for suggestions)
  • A cup of water and another of salt water (optional)

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Discover that some materials allow electricity to flow through them (electrical conductors) and others do not (electrical insulators).
  • Test materials for conduction, record findings and draw conclusions.

Activities

  1. Play an active game to revise electricity concepts and vocabulary and learn more (Yrs3&4)
  2. Discover the function of a switch and begin to learn electrical symbols for components (Yrs3&4)
  3. Test a variety of materials for electrical conductivity and record results either in a given table (Yr3) or by drawing their own table (Yr4) and begin to draw conclusions (Yrs3&4)

Investigation
Our electric personalities will need to contain electrical components (lights, buzzer or motors) but how can we get them to work? Investigate how to make electrical components work and discover that a circuit is needed. Learn the symbols for each component. Look at a range of drawn circuits. (exploring, observing, pattern seeking)
Year 3 – Predict which will work and which will not and explain why
Year 4 – Predict which will not work and redraw the circuits so they will

Vocabulary
Electricity, circuit, switch, battery, device, motor, bulb, buzzer, component, wire, lead, crocodile clip, connection, power, cell, energy, flow, current, conductor, insulator, disconnect

Session 4 Time to Design!

Objectives

It’s time to decide what sort of working electric personality you will make - a robot, an animal or a person. Can you build the circuit that will be needed to make it work? You will need to decide what type of switch to use and draw a circuit diagram to explain how to put it all together.

Science Objectives
i) Construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers.

Working Scientifically

  1. Asking relevant questions and using different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.
  2. Identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.
  3. Using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

Other Curriculum Areas

Design and Technology

  • Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups.
  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • ‘Designing my Electric Personality’ Task Sheet (1 per child – pages 2 and 3 of the resource pack double backed on A3 paper and folded to make a booklet for planning, and later evaluating, the Electric Personality)

Additional Resources

  • A wide range of clean recycled packaging that can be used to create working electrical models
  • A collection of other materials to use for the modelling task
  • Split pins
  • Cells (in battery holders)
  • Double ended crocodile clip leads
  • Bulbs
  • Bulb holders
  • Buzzers
  • Motors
  • Switches (optional)
  • For Buzz Games - a wire coat hanger each, and a pair of wire cutters and pliers (to share)
  • A named carrier bag for each child where they can keep all the resources for their project

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Design a circuit that has a particular function within a working model choosing the type of switch and components needed.
  • Draw a diagram to represent the circuit (Yr3) using recognised symbols (Yr4).


Activities

  • Recap on which materials are electrical conductors and which are insulators (Yrs3&4)
  • Plan a working electrical model - An Electric Personality and build the circuit required (Yrs3&4)
  • Understand the difference between an on/off switch and a pressure switch and build one of these into their circuit (Yrs3&4)
  • Draw their circuit either in a way of their choice (Yr3) or using recognised symbols (Yr4)

Investigation
Your electric personalities will need to be switched on and off. Investigate switches and how they work also predict then test which materials allow electricity to pass through them (electrical conductors) and which do not (electrical insulators) (exploring, pattern seeking, classifying and identifying)
Year 3 – Use sorting hoops to sort conductors and insulators
Year 4 – Draw a results table to record results


Vocabulary
Electricity, circuit, switch, pressure, battery, device, motor, bulb, buzzer, component, wire, lead, crocodile clip, connection, power, cell, energy, flow, current, conductor, insulator, disconnect, design, test, adapt, modify

Session 5 All Together Now!

Objectives

It’s time to put it all together and construct your electric personality. It will have a switch and working electrical components. Follow your plan as far as you can but don’t be afraid to make adaptations and improvements. You will also play an active team game to revise some of the concepts and vocabulary you have learnt on the theme of electricity.

Science Objectives
i) Construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers.

Working Scientifically

  1. Identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.
  2. Using straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings.

Other Curriculum Areas

Design and Technology - Make/Technical Knowledge

  • Select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing], accurately.
  • Select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials and textiles according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.
  • Apply their understanding of how to strengthen, stiffen and reinforce more complex structures.
  • Understand and use electrical systems in their products.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • A game sheet for each team of 3-4 children
  • Equivalent number of answer sheets

Additional Resources

  • All the resources set aside to use in their electric model plus some extra recycled packaging
  • A collection of other materials to use for the modelling task
  • PVA glue in pots with spreaders
  • a hot glue gun
  • Strong adhesive tape, masking tape & electrical insulation tape
  • Plenty of stranded electrical wire
  • a craft knife and cutting mat
  • sticky tack
  • a pair of compasses
  • Children’s named project bags and their planning booklets from Session 4
  • All the electrical components set aside plus a few spares for adaptions and changes of plan

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Construct an electrical circuit to perform a planned function within a working model including a switch.
  • Solve problems and make adaptations during the making process to overcome difficulties using knowledge of series circuits.


Activities

  1. Play an active team game to revise some electrical concepts and vocabulary (Yrs3&4)
  2. Construct a working electrical model from their own plan and adapt it where necessary to overcome problems (Yrs3&4)
  3. Learn how to create secure wiring for a durable electrical device (Yrs3&4)


Investigation
Design your electric personality Decide which electrical components you will use and what will work on your personality. Design the appearance of your personality – facial features, hair and accessories. Paint a paper plate that will become the face (exploring, pattern seeking, fair testing)
Year 3 – Create the circuit they would like to use with components and draw a circuit diagram to record how they will do it.
Year 4 – Draw a circuit diagram to show what will work, then test it out with electrical components

Vocabulary
Electricity, circuit, switch, pressure, battery, device, motor, bulb, buzzer, component, wire, lead, crocodile clip, connection, power, cell, energy, flow, current, conductor, insulator, disconnect, design, test, adapt, modify

Session 6 Finishing Touches

Objectives

Your amazing working electric personality is almost finished and you just need to add some finishing touches to make it look even better! Like all great inventors, you will need to evaluate your creation and make some notes for future improvements. There will also be time to take part in a quiz on electricity to find out just how much of an expert you have become!

Science Objectives
i) Construct a simple series electrical circuit, identifying and naming its basic parts, including cells, wires, bulbs, switches and buzzers.

Working Scientifically

  1. Identifying differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes
  2. Reporting on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions

Other Curriculum Areas

Design and Technology - Evaluate

  • Evaluate their ideas and products against their own design criteria and consider the views of others to improve their work
  • Understand how key events (the age of electrical discovery) and individuals (Thomas Edison) in design and technology have helped shape the world

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • The children’s part completed models and their Planning/Evaluation booklets from Session 4
  • Any extra resources required to complete the models
  • Electrical components
  • Wires stripped back 2cm at each end

Provided Resources

  • Quiz sheets

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Test and make improvements to a working model that uses an electrical circuit.
  • Report to others on the making of their model and the electrical circuitry it contains using appropriate technical and scientific vocabulary.
  • Evaluate its effectiveness and suggest possible improvements.


Activities

  • Take part in a quiz on electricity to assess their learning in this block (Yrs3&4)
  • Work on finishing their working electric model, focussing on technical and aesthetic qualities (Yrs3&4)
  • Evaluate their model by identifying positive features and points that could be improved (Yrs3&4)
  • Consult the opinions of others and record their views as part of the evaluation process (Yrs3&4)


Investigation
It’s time to create your electrical personality. Assemble the components to make a working feature. Use paint and collage to add details and accessories (exploring)
Year 3 /Year 4 working on their own designs. Expect more independence from Year 4s


Vocabulary
Electricity, circuit, switch, pressure, battery, device, motor, bulb, buzzer, component, wire, lead, crocodile clip, connection, power, cell, energy, flow, current, conductor, insulator, disconnect, design, test, adapt, modify