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Subject - Science
Unit - Electricity and Circuits

Learning Objectives
At the end of this unit, students will be able to
1. Explain, in their own words and using real world analogies, what current and electrical
circuit mean to them
2. Design a closed electrical circuit to light an electric bulb and fan
3. Enhance an electrical circuit by adding a switch
4. Test the conductivity of materials (like a key and a screwdriver) using previously
designed electrical circuits
5. Understand how an electric cell (or battery) provides the energy needed to power a
circuit
6. Talk about the safety precautions one should take when working with electricity
7. Describe how electricity gets to our homes
8. Imagine ways to improve scientific inventions including wireless electricity
Lesson 1 - Relevance
Duration - 1 Class Period or 35 min

Conduct a classroom discussion to establish subject relevance:
Ask a student to turn off the fan. Why did it turn off? Turn it on back again? Why did it
turn back on?
The students will most probably say, Electricity
Why should we learn about electricity? It helps us watch TV or use a phone. Electricity is
not something we invented, we just use it for our benefit. For instance electricity exists in
more places than you think (Source - Search for horse in transcript
http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/physics/8-02sc-physics-ii-electricity-and-magnetism-fall-
2010/introduction-to-electric-fields/)
Your heart would not beat without electricity - Your heart pumps blood. It needs
to contract. Electricity in the heart contracts the heart. Have you heard of
Defibrillation -- that is passing a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart
that has stopped working. Source - http://www.sads.org.uk/heart_function.htm
Play from 3:39 to 4:40 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEOFPwVa-34
Horses and humans require electricity, because their muscle contractions require
electricity.
You could not think without electricity - Electrical charges from the brain allow us
to think and instruct our body to move -
http://www.discoveryplace.org/blog/post/11/Physics-Electricity-in-my-brain
You could not see without electricity
Lesson 2 - Electric Current
Duration - 2 Class Periods or 70 min

Materials needed - Switch with copper wire, water pipe, tube with marbles or balls,

Class Discussion
What is electricity?
Movement of electrons through a wire
Show a switch, with copper wires - Something is happening in this wire, that is
powering the fan
Remember molecules and atoms. What constitutes an atom?
Think of electricity as water flowing through the emptiness of a pipe. Something
is moving through the copper wire (show the switch with copper wire).
That something is electrons
This image is useful -
http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/story/images/chap02_wire_2007.gif
Within atoms there are electrons, which are negatively charged particles. When
they move, we get electricity
Another way to look at it -- Think of a tube which is full of marbles, just as a
conductor is full of free electrons ready to be moved by an outside influence. If a
single marble is suddenly inserted into this full tube on the left-hand side, another
marble will immediately try to exit the tube on the right. Even though each marble
only traveled a short distance, the transfer of motion through the tube is virtually
instantaneous from the left end to the right end, no matter how long the tube is.
Source - http://www.electronicsteacher.com/direct-current/basic-concepts-
electricity/conductors-insulators-and-electron-flow.php
Can we see electricity? No, because we cannot see electrons.
If you take 6 billion atoms (about the same as the number of people on earth)
lined up, touching each other, then you would have only the length of 60
centimeters
How soon after you turn the fan on, does the fan start moving? How fast does electricity
move? Speed of light - 300,000 Kilometers per second
Where does electricity come from? Is it made in a factory like shoes? Why dont we go
buy it in the market like fruits?

Class Activity - Acting out a circuit
What is an electrical circuit? A device that provides a path for electric current
Ask students to join you in forming a circle. Tell students that you represent a battery
and they represent a wire conductor. Distribute an object -- like a ball, a book, or an
eraser -- to each member of the circle, including yourself. Ideally, everyone should have
the same object. Tell students that these objects represent electrons inside a wire
conductor. Explain that a wire conductor is full of electrons.
should in turn pass the one he or she is holding to the right. Have students continue
passing on electrons to the person to their right. Tell students that because electrons
share the same negative charge, they repel one another, which keeps them moving
along in the same direction. State again that the flow of electrons through a conductor is
called electrical current.
The circle represents a circuit. (Note: The word circuit comes from the Latin circuitus,
which means "to go around.")
Play video of electric circuit from 3:54 to 5:17 -
Ask - Will the current flow in the three images on this webpage -
http://www.electronicsteacher.com/direct-current/basic-concepts-electricity/electric-
circuits.php

Optional Video of Electrons Moving in a Circuit
http://betterlesson.org/document/95787/electric-circuits?from=search

Lesson 3 - Electric Current Safety
Duration - 1 Class Period or 35 min

Electric Current safety
The battery says - 1.5 V (V stands for volts). Think of it as the electric force. This is low
enough to play with
The electricity in the house is at 220 Volts. Very dangerous, do not play with any outlet in
the wall.
The electricity transported by the power lines is at thousands of volts --
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ligne_haute-tension.jpg
http://www.crpud.net/residential/images/DangerHighVoltageSign.jpg
Some helpful tips here - Other than the basic ones above, the rest can be covered at the
end of the chapter
http://aep.electricuniverse.com/eu_louie.php?sec=1&mc=1&sc=0&pn=safety_rules_2.ht
ml

Lesson 4 - Designing Circuits
Duration - 2 Class Periods or 70 min

Making a Circuit
Materials Needed - Bulb, Bulb holder, copper wires, screw driver, battery
Ask students to pair up and bring the materials listed above.
Connecting a bulb to a cell to make a circuit - From the on Teacher Domain
Ask students what lessons they learned
Reiterate that electricity flows in a circuit. If there is a break in the circuit, then the
electrons do not flow - http://www.electronicsteacher.com/direct-current/basic-
concepts-electricity/electric-circuits.php

Making an electric switch
Ask students to use the circuit they made in one of the previous classes, and modify it to
create a circuit with a Single switch (NCERT has a better switch example here that
works well with the next topic i.e. conductors)
Share drawings of three Way switch and encourage students to do this at home under
parental supervision
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiway_switching#Traveler_system or
http://www.rkm.com.au/ANIMATIONS/animation-graphics/3-way-switch-
diagram.jpg

Testing Conductors and Insulators -

Making a fan with a motor
Running a fan with a motor
Lesson 5 - Battery or Electric Cell
Duration - 1 Class Period or 35 min

Electric Cell
Its ingredients react to push electrons through wires and bulb.
There are chemicals inside the battery - Like Zinc and Carbon
A battery converts chemical energy into electric energy.
Simulation that shows that electrons are pushed in the circuit by the battery -
Mention that the side the electrons come out from is the negative side, and the
other side becomes the positive side.

Battery Life
Self Discharge (Even if never taken out of the original package, disposable (or "primary")
batteries can lose 8 to 20 percent of their original charge every year at a temperature of about
2030C) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_(electricity)#Life_of_primary_batteries
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_(electricity)#Extending_battery_life

Can you imagine uses of batteries
Students will come up with many answers. Highlight that they are used in storing energy
generated by intermittent but renewable sources of power like solar power and wind
energy. Tel them that battery technology can hep us use energy more efficiently and
reduce our dependence on fossil fuels

What happens in a car battery? Why do you need a car battery? Why does a car battery
die?
A car battery, generally has 12 volts
We need a car battery for ignition (to generate the electricity needed to spark the spark
plug) and for lights. Once the car starts, the engine charges the battery
When you forget to turn the lights of the car out, then after a few hours, you wont be able
to start your car, as the battery would have drained out.

Safety Tip - Do not create a short circuit, by connecting the two ends of the battery with a wire,
without a bulb. This will drain the battery really quickly and make it hot and can burn your hand.

Lesson 6 - Lemon Battery
Duration - 1 Class Period or 35 min

Experimenting with a lemon battery
Bring materials in class to make a lemon batter based on the videos below
http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.mfw.zlemon/
http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.mfe.zcircuit/

Lesson 7 - Understanding Home Electricity
Duration - 1 Class Periods or 35 min

Explain how the electricity gets to our home - answered well in the diagram in loose sheet
Understand Live, Neutral and Earth wires - http://videos.howstuffworks.com/brainstuff/35461-
why-do-the-plugs-on-some-appliances-have-two-prongs-video.htm
Many electrical appliances like laptop, microwave etc. have a metal casing underneath
the plastic insulation. So imagine that the live wire breaks, and touches the metal casing.
The current will flow all over the appliance. Now imagine if the insulation fails. If you now
touch the appliance, the current will run through you and you will get the shock. Earthing
helps to protect that. All around the metal casing are earth wires. The earth pin is the
biggest pin in the socket. Current likes to flow through the path of least resistance. So as
soon as current in the metal casing comes in contact with the earth wire, it flows
harmlessly to the ground. Thus protecting us. This is actually why the Earthing pin in the
3 pin switch is the biggest.
Source - Listen at 2:40 when the narrator says that if the live cable touches the
metal casing of a toaster or an oven the current drains harmlessly away -
http://youtu.be/rN3QhtnlCSw
Does this mean that 2 prong plugs do not have grounding - Yes (most probably), as
appliances with 2 prong plugs are often double insulated, and do not rely on grounding
to prevent shock. -
The current likes the path of least resistance. Do an exercise in class where 1
student tries to run through a group of 2 students and then a group of 10
students.
The current loves the earth. Why, because current, like water likes to flow from
high to low (voltage in this case). Earth has practically no voltage. So give current
a path to go to earth and it will take it.
Why do we get shock if we touch a live wire
if you touch a live wire while standing on the earth, you give the current a path to reach
the earth and hence will be shocked.
Why dont birds get electrocuted when they sit on electric wires
Current loves the path of least resistance. It likes to go through the wire as it is easier
than the birds body. But if the bird is touching the ground or another wire that is a part of
a circuit then the bird will get zapped.
http://youtu.be/rN3QhtnlCSw
Wireless Electricity -
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/eric_giler_demos_wireless_electricity.html

Some suggestions to include in the lesson
Good Lesson Plan on Electricity
http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.mfe.lp_electric/
Research Project - Where does electricity come from? (can give this in the form of a research
assignment)
http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/ket09.sci.phys.energy.coal/
Red Light
Another decent lesson plan - http://www.electronicsteacher.com/direct-current/basic-concepts-
electricity/conductors-insulators-and-electron-flow.php
What is AC and DC
http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.mfw.acdc/

Door Bells -- How do they produce sounds and repetitive sounds -
http://www.explainthatstuff.com/how-electric-doorbells-work.html

Videos