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Learning Cycle Lesson Planning Form

Science Topic/Content Area:

Grade Level:

General Unit
Physics/Physical Science

K-8

1. What concepts/big
ideas do you intend
students to learn?

2. What do you
expect students to
understand about this

concept and be able


to do as a result?

3. Why is it important
for students to learn
this concept?
(Rationale)

GLEs to be Addressed:
LPS (4th Grade)---4.2.1: Construct and design simple circuits
Nebraska (3rd-5th)---SC5.2.3.f: Recognize that the transfer of electricity circuit
requires a closed loop
Nebraska (3rd-5th)---SC 5.2.5.e: Identify materials that act as thermal conductors or
insulators

Electricity---Showing how electricity works in the body

Students will be able to:


determine which objects are insulators and conductors .
know how a circuit works and how to make one using insulators and conductors.
realize that the human body is a conductor.
Electricity is everywhere. Its in the lights that you turn on, in the hair that is sticking up on your head
after you rub a balloon on it, and in many other aspects of our daily lives. But, a lot of people arent sure
how electricity works. In a country where we use some sort of electricity every second, it is important
for students, and all people for that matter, to learn about it. Conductors and insulators are among the
basics of electricity. They are two of the most important things that make electricity work. By learning
about them, students will be more able to recognize what objects around them are conductors and
insulators as well as be able to make their own circuits by using this knowledge. Circuit building is a fun
and interactive way for students to learn conductors and insulators function in electricity. It can also
help them because you never know, you could have to make your own circuit one day to create a batter
or even produce light if you are in a tough situation and that electricity around you isnt working. It is
helpful for students to learn about the materials around them and how they can use them for not only
education, but for survival tools as well. Its also important for students to understand how electricity
works in their own bodies and that they are conductors themselves. This is also useful for the same
reasons mentioned before.

Adapted from the Content Representation Tool (Loughran, Mulhall, & Berry, 2004)

4. Provide an
overview/ explain
what teachers should
know about this topic.
What miscon-ceptions
do students typically
have about this
concept? (Lesson
Background Info)

(From Briticanna Online Encyclopedia)


Electricity---phenomenon associated with stationary or moving electric charges. Electric charge is a
fundamental property of matter and is borne by elementary particles. In electricity the particle involved
is the electron, which carries a charge designated, by convention, as negative. Thus, the various
manifestations of electricity are the result of the accumulation or motion of numbers of electrons.
Insulator---any of various substances that block or retard the flow of electrical or thermal currents.
Although an electrical insulator is ordinarily thought of as a nonconducting material, it is in fact better
described as a poor conductor or a substance of high resistance to the flow of electric current.
The way that atoms bond together affects the electrical properties of the materials they form. For
example, in materials held together by the metallic bond, electrons float loosely between the metal
ions. These electrons will be free to move if an electrical force is applied. For example, if a copper wire
is attached across the poles of a battery, the electrons will flow inside the wire. Thus, an electric current
flows, and the copper is said to be a conductor. The flow of electrons inside a conductor is not quite so
simple, though. A free electron will be accelerated for a while but will then collide with an ion. In the
collision process, some of the energy acquired by the electron will be transferred to the ion. As a result,
the ion will move faster, and an observer will notice the wires temperature rise. This conversion of
electrical energy from the motion of the electrons to heat energy is called electrical resistance. In a
material of high resistance, the wire heats up quickly as electric current flows. In a material of low
resistance, such as copper wire, most of the energy remains with the moving electrons, so the material
is good at moving electrical energy from one point to another. Its excellent conducting property,
together with its relatively low cost, is why copper is commonly used in electrical wiring.

The way that atoms bond together affects the electrical properties of the materials they form. For
example, in materials held together by the metallic bond, electrons float loosely between the metal
ions. These electrons will be free to move if an electrical force is applied. For example, if a copper wire is
attached across the poles of a battery, the electrons will flow inside the wire. Thus, an electric current
flows, and the copper is said to be a conductor.
The flow of electrons inside a conductor is not quite so simple, though. A free electron will be
accelerated for a while but will then collide with an ion. In the collision process, some of the energy
acquired by the electron will be transferred to the ion. As a result, the ion will move faster, and an
observer will notice the wires temperature rise. This conversion of electrical energy from the motion of
the electrons to heat energy is called electrical resistance. In a material of high resistance, the wire
heats up quickly as electric current flows. In a material of low resistance, such as copper wire, most of

Adapted from the Content Representation Tool (Loughran, Mulhall, & Berry, 2004)

the energy remains with the moving electrons, so the material is good at moving electrical energy from
one point to another. Its excellent conducting property, together with its relatively low cost, is why
copper is commonly used in electrical wiring.
The exact opposite situation obtains in materials, such as plastics and ceramics, in which the electrons
are all locked into ionic or covalent bonds. When these kinds of materials are placed between the poles
of a battery, no current flowsthere are simply no electrons free to move. Such materials are called
insulators.
(From http://amasci.com/miscon/eleca.html)

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

5. What specific
activities might be
useful for helping
students develop an
understanding of the
concept in each
phase of the Learning
Cycle?

What are the misconceptions? Here is a list:


All electric currents are flows of electrons. Wrong.
"Electricity" is made of electrons, not protons. Nope.
Electrons are a kind of energy particle. Wrong.
"Electricity" carries zero mass because electrons have little mass. No.
Positive charge is really just a loss of electrons. Wrong.
Positive charge cannot flow. Totally wrong.
To create "static" charge, we move the electrons. Not always.

Engage: We are going to learn about electricity today. What things around you run on electricity?
(wait for answers) How do you know that? (wait for answers).
Right now, I want you to look at the objects that I have on the table in front of me. There are bendy
straws, erasers, paper clips, rubber bands, aluminum foil, plastic bags, pencils, crayons, post-its, wax
paper, paper towels, a hole punch, and a metal stapler. Come up and feel the objects and look at them.
You can play with them in your hands safely. I just want you to get a feel for what they are. (allow time)
Now, were going to sit back down. I have a big anchor chart up here with two columns: one with a lit up
light bulb and one with a non lit up light bulb. We are going to take pictures of these objects that Ive
printed out and make a guess on what column each object goes under by deciding if that object would
light up a light bulb in a circuit or if it wouldnt light it up.
(Allow students, one at a time, to come up and place a picture under a column. Then, have them tell
the class why they think that.)
Exploration: Now that we have made our guesses about which of these objects are, we are going to
test them together. I have a simple circuit here which includes two wires with metal clamps on each
side and a little light bulb. I am going to connect one end of each of the wires to the bottom on the light

Adapted from the Content Representation Tool (Loughran, Mulhall, & Berry, 2004)

bulb. On the other side of the two wires, I am going to attach each and every object that we have to see
if when they are connected in the circuit, they light the light bulb up or not. If youre guess was correct,
we will leave it where it is at. If it is wrong, we will move it to the other column.
(Test each of the objects and move pictures of them to the appropriate column. Have students, one at a
time, come up and help you complete the circuits with the objects.)
Explanation: Now that we have seen which objects light up the bulb and which objects dont, we are
going to put a name for these columns. I have the words insulators and conductors. We need to place
these by the appropriate light bulb. Which of the two words means that the object will light up the light
bulb? Which means that the object wont light up the light bulb? How do you know that?
Without knowing it, we have learned about a major part of electricity. Electricity happens when a
conductor is in a circuit. A conductor is an object that will let electricity flow through it. But, there are
objects that dont allow electricity to happen: insulators. An insulator is an object that doesnt let
electricity flow through it. Electricity is all about the flow of electrons, which we know about, from one
place to another. Conductors let those electrons flow freely, while insulators stop that flow. So, we found
out that if an object can light up a light bulb in a circuit, it is a conductor, and if it cant light up a light
bulb in a circuit, it is an insulator.
Extension: We have looked at what objects are insulators and conductors from the ones that I have
provided. Now, I want you to get in pairs and go pick an object in the room. Any object can be chosen,
within reason. I want you to make an educated guess, based on what you know, whether that object is
an insulator or conductor. Then, you may come up to my table to test it out in the circuit. I will have two
circuits going so you will have to take turns. When you are done, I want you to write a paragraph about
your findings as well as draw a picture of your circuit. Why do you think the object was an insulator or
conductor? What is it made of? Does that make a difference? Why did you choose the object? What did
you learn today? Good scientists reflect on things that they have learned.

Adapted from the Content Representation Tool (Loughran, Mulhall, & Berry, 2004)

6. In what ways would


you assess students
understanding or
confusion about this
concept?

Formative Assessment: What will occur in each of the prior phases, above, to help you assess students
ideas and progress?
From the anchor chart activity, I can see students interacting and engaging in the materials. I will
assess them on whether they can have the idea of conductors and insulators or not. I will also assess
them on their participation in testing out objects, as well as finding their own object to test out in the
circuit in their partnerships. I will use observations to do this formative assessment.
Summative Evaluation: What will you use as a basis for assigning grades? (Include rubric or criteria)
To evaluate the students, I will use their extention activity reflection. They will be graded on three parts.
The first part is if they are able to do the activity appropriately (get an object and test it in the circuit.)
This is worth 5 points. The second part is if they drew a picture of the circuit. Again, this will be worth 5
points. The third part is based on the reflection of the activity and whether or not they answered all the
questions that needed to be included in it or not. This will be worth 10 points.

7. What materials/
Anchor Chart
equipment are
Objects to Test
needed to teach the bendy straws, erasers, paper clips, rubber bands, aluminum foil, plastic bags, pencils, crayons, post-its,
lesson?
wax paper, paper towels, a hole punch, metal stapler
Pictures of Objects
Circuit Sets (2)
Two wires with metal clips on end, lightbulb
8. References (Please http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/estatics/Lesson-1/Conductors-and-Insulators
list all resources
http://www.britannica.com/science/electricity
consulted in
http://www.britannica.com/science/insulator
developing this form)
http://www.britannica.com/science/atom#ref989961

Adapted from the Content Representation Tool (Loughran, Mulhall, & Berry, 2004)