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Electric Circuits:


Christina Miller

Grade Level

I. Content and Standards:

S4.A.3.2.2: Use models to make observations to explain how systems
work (e.g., water cycle, Sun-Earth-Moon system).
S4.A.3.2.3: Use appropriate, simple modeling tools and techniques to
describe or illustrate a system (e.g., two cans and string to model a
communications system, terrarium to model an ecosystem).
S4.C.2.1.2: Describe the flow of energy through an object or system
(e.g., feeling radiant heat from a light bulb, eating food to get energy,
using a battery to light a bulb or run a fan).
S4.C.2.1.3: Recognize or illustrate simple direct current series and
parallel circuits composed of batteries, light bulbs (or other common
loads), wire, and on/off switches.
II. Prerequisites: Students will have a basic understanding of energy as it
was discussed in the previous class.
III. Instructional Objective:
Students will be able to explain how electric current flows in a circuit
Students will be able to wire a basic circuit
Students will be able to explain the difference between series and
parallel connections
IV. Instructional Procedures:
1. Introduce students to todays topic, tell them we will be expanding on
energy and learning about circuits (Domain 3a)
2. Powerpoint about electrical circuits is on computer
3. Define the electric circuit as a connection of two or more components
to form a closed loop (Domain 3a)
4. Show pictures of the circuits on the smartboard (they are saved on the
5. The closed loop is necessary to allow the electric current to flow from
one point of the voltage source to the other
Remember, a voltage is the electric potential between two
6. Circuit elements can be connected in either series or parallel
Series components are connect in line with each other.
i. They provide a single path for the current to flow.
ii. Therefore, they share the same current


Components in series have the same current

They divide the voltage among themselves
Components in series have different voltages
The different voltages add up to the original total voltage
of the voltage source
Parallel components are connected side by side.
i. Each component provides a different path for the current to
ii. Components in parallel have different currents
iii. The different currents add up to the current in the voltage
iv. Components in parallel have the same voltage
7. Use the Christmas light example (Domain 3c). If one light goes out, do
they all go out? Does this mean the lights are series or parallel? (If they
all go out, its series, if not its parallel. If SOME go out, then its a
combination of series and parallel!)
8. Discuss other examples of electric circuits from the tiny
(microprocessors) to the large (the power lines).
Electric circuit inquiry (Domain 3c)
9. Hand out the materials
They are building simple circuits with batteries for the voltage
sources and small light bulbs for the components.
Be sure to help them connect the circuits (Domain 3e), as they
probably have never done so before
They connect the bulbs in both series and then parallel
As the students perform the experiments, stress the closed loop
idea in the circuits, as well as the basic definitions of electricity.
What is the battery doing? (Domain 3b)
Where is the current flowing? (Domain 3b)
After students complete the series and parallel circuits, allow
them to work in groups (Domain 3c) to see how many different types of
circuits they can make with different configurations.
V. Materials and Equipment:

Circuit kits
o Batteries
o Wires
o Light
Powerpoint presentation

VI. Assessment/Evaluation: Class participation and discussion (Domain


VII. Accommodations or Modifications needed for students with

disabilities: There should be no need for accommodations for this
lesson. However if needed, students will be read information needed,
or given the appropriate spellings for words. Extra time will also be
given, if necessary.
VIII. Technology: The smartboard and computer will be used for a power
point and to show students pictures of the different types of circuits.

This lesson began by explaining to the students that we would be expanding on
our lesson from yesterday(domain 3a) about energy and will be talking about electrical
circuits. Since we had talked a little bit about electricity being a type of energy, the
students had an understanding about the topic. We did need to review some of the
material (domain 3a) because of an early dismissal, two cancellations and a weekend.
The review was mainly done though questioning. I started by asking the students about
energy (domain 3b) , they continued the conversation with slight prompts (domain 3b)
with vocab words.
The students were shown a powerpoint (domain 3a) about circuits while
discussing the information of the lesson. I have found that some students in the class
retain the information better when they read it, so I have started to put the information
on the whiteboard for those students.
The students understood the example with the Christmas lights, many of them
stating that they have lights at home (domain 3b) that do this. Some students gave
other examples of series circuits, such as a bathroom vanity light that goes out when
one light goes out. The students also liked giving examples of circuits. They did have
a hard time grasping the idea that power lines were also circuits. After looking on
google earth (domain3e) at some satellite pictures, they seemed to have a better
understanding of how they are a circuit.
The students really enjoyed creating their own circuits (domain 3c). At first they
did not believe that they could light up a bulb with just batteries and wire. After they
started creating the circuits they were very excited to see what else they could create

and get to light up. Surprisingly they asked if they could work as a group to see how
many lights they could get to light up at one time. They ended up working as one big
group (domain 3c) lighting up 6 bulbs at one time. While working on their own circuits,
when asked they could explain how the circuit was working (domain 3b,d).

Overall Reflection
I have been trying to ask students more questions, better questions lately. I have
been asking more open ended questions and having them elaborate more on their
answers. The most difficult part of this is keeping the students on task, they tend to go
off task very easily.
Something that I need to work on is giving students feedback while using
assessment during instruction. I do the typical good job or correct but would like to
try to add some other type of positive feedback for students.
I have also been working on pacing of lessons. This is difficult as both classes
that I teach are on very diverse levels academically. I can create a lesson for the upper
level class, but only get through about half of it for the lower class. Then if I create a
lesson for the lower class, there is a lot of time left in the upper level class. I also do not
like making the upper class do extra work, so I try to come up with something related to
the lesson, but that is also fun that they can do. Instead of this, I would like to have
other options since I cannot teach both classes at the same pace.
With this lesson, I doubted the academic information that the students got out of
it, until the next day when they began discussing circuits. They could explain how they
work and the differences between the types. They were also very excited for science
class due to the hands on experiments.