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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
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Science topics ages 10 - 11
Changing circuits

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity

Online lesson plan


Understand you can make bulbs brighter or dimmer in a series circuit by changing the number or type of components

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Science, Sc4 1b

Wales: Key Stage 2, Physical processes 1.3, 1.4

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Physical processes, Electricity, d

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Properties and uses of energy Level C, Level D

Resources required

Online activity from Science Clips website: Changing circuits

Reference books and CD-ROMs

Teaching activities

Open the online activity on the interactive whiteboard. Recap on the basics needed to make the bulb light in the electrical circuit. What is the purpose of the switch?

Ask children what would happen to the brightness of the bulb if something other than wire was used to fill the top middle position in the circuit (it might get brighter, it might get dimmer, it might stay the same)? What could they replace the wire with to make the bulb brighter when the switch is on? What could they replace the wire with to make the bulb dimmer when the switch is on? List the questions and the suggestions on the board.

Divide the class into pairs of groups, with a computer for each group. Ask each group to investigate the questions on the board. Ask them also to investigate the effect of changing the straight wire for a coiled wire.

Go through the questions listed on the board. What have they found out from the activity? What made the bulb brighter? What made the bulb dimmer? Discuss the reasons for this. What happened when you used two batteries for one bulb? Why? Explain that too much electricity running through the filament of the bulb destroys the filament. What happened when you swapped straight wire for coiled wire? Why?


Investigate wires using reference books and CD-ROMs. What is the difference between fuse wire and normal wire used in electric circuits? Why is wire usually covered in plastic? What kind of wire is used in electric circuits?

Suggested homework

Compose a poster showing the dangers of mains electricity.


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