Overview of Section Resources

Section 1: Static Electricity
Students begin their exploration of electricity by examining the concept of electric charges. Students discover that electric charges can be transferred from one object to another, leading to a buildup of charges called static electricity. Through a series of experiments, students observe that electric charges can exert forces, and that these forces act in predictable ways: objects with unlike charges attract each other, while objects with like charges repel each other.
Section 2: Building a Circuit
Students begin their investigation of current electricity by exploring circuits. They discover that electricity can flow only through a closed circuit and build a simple circuit using wires, batteries, and bulbs. Students also observe that electrical energy can be converted into light and heat.
Section 3: Conductors and Insulators
Students investigate conductors and insulators and the types of materials that can be classified in each group. First, they use a simple circuit to distinguish materials that act as conductors and insulators. Then students use an “energy ball” to show that the human body can act as a conductor.
Section 4: Circuit Puzzles
Students carry out experiments using circuit puzzles as models of circuits. These experiments provide students an opportunity to observe that electric current can flow only through a closed circuit.
Section 5: Series and Parallel Circuits
Students explore the similarities and differences between series and parallel circuits. Working with partners, they design and build simple series and parallel circuits using wires, batteries, and bulbs. Students then explore how an opening along the path affects the current flow through each circuit.
Section 6: Fuses
Students explore the concept of fuses and see how too much current can cause wires to overheat. Students also learn about the potential dangers that can result from short circuits.
Section 7: Making a Battery
Students examine the parts of a battery and learn how a battery converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Using batteries made from fruit, students examine how changing the metals used as electrodes affects the current produced by the battery. Students also see that some solutions are able to carry electric current.
Section 8: Electricity and Magnetism
Students explore the relationship between electricity and magnetism. They begin by observing that moving a magnet through a coil of wire can generate an electric current. Students then observe that the opposite is also true: a temporary magnet can be made by passing an electric current through a wire. Students see how electromagnets are used in electric motors, electric generators, and devices such as doorbells and earphones.