During the 8 lessons of this unit, students develop broad knowledge about electricity as they assemble and analyze the operation of simple circuits made up of batteries, bulbs, and wires. One of the main purposes of the Electricity Unit is the understanding that we cannot create or destroy energy; we can only transform it. Students experiment with energy transformation in different practical situations. These include how a battery, an electric motor, a generator, and a hydroelectric plant produces electrical energy.
In the first few lessons of the unit, students perform simple experiments to observe how objects charged with electricity react through forces of attraction and repulsion. These activities enable students to understand the nature of an electric circuit. They begin with students trying to solve a simple problem: light a bulb using only a battery and one wire.
The next set of lessons has students design and build a working flashlight. Within these lessons students apply their knowledge of electric circuits and use problem solving strategies acquired in previous lessons.
Building on their knowledge of flashlight construction, in subsequent lessons, students take a small electric motor apart to understand how it works and discuss the conversion from electric to kinetic energy that occurs when it is operating. They analyze how electric generators convert kinetic energy into electric energy. Students use a small generator to light LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) in order to observe the conversion of electric energy into light energy. A thorough discussion of the implementation of Daylight Saving Time, emphases the importance of conserving energy and avoiding its waste.
The final lesson challenges students to consider yet another way of generating electricity through the use of water power. Students experiment with the potential energy of stored water and the kinetic energy of moving water and draw conclusions about how this could apply to generating electrici