BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
Teachers resources  

BBC Homepage
  BBC Schools  
Science Clips Welcome
Resources for teachers
  Web Links
  Schools Help

Contact Us

Ages 5 - 6 Ages 6 - 7 Ages 7 - 8
Ages 8 - 9 Ages 9 - 10 Ages 10 - 11

Science topics ages 6 - 7
Using electricity

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

Offline lesson plan


Know that a switch can be used to break a circuit

Construct a simple series circuit and use it for a purpose

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 1, Science, Sc1, 1, 2a, 2b, 2c, 2e, 2f, 2g, 2j; Sc4, 1a, 1b, 1c

Wales: Key Stage 1, Physical processes, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 2, Physical Processes, Electricity b

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

Resources required

Circuit components: bulbs, wires, batteries, switches

Cardboard tubes

Red and white paint


Copies of the Using electricity worksheet from the Science Clips website

Teaching activities

Read "The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch" by Ronda and David Armitage, or one of the "Katie Morag" stories by Mairi Hedderwick, which clearly shows a lighthouse (ideally the book would have been read before the lesson and can now be referred to).

Explain to the children that they are going to make a lighthouse with a real light. Discuss the fact that the light will need to go on and off. Discuss how they turn the lights on and off at home or in the classroom. In talk partners, ask the children to think about the materials they will need for this activity and then feed back to the class. Discuss the role of the various materials and display them, but do not demonstrate.

The children work in pairs (or small groups if resources are limited) to make a lighthouse with a light that can be switched on and off. You may want to use a separate Art and Design lesson to paint and erect the cardboard tube. The children should experiment with the circuit components for themselves, while you circulate the groups, discussing what they are doing and how well it is working. If any groups are having difficulties, you can stop the class and ask another group to demonstrate what they have done as a prompt to the others.

Ask several pairs to show the class their lighthouses and discuss any problems that they had. Prompt each pair with questions. How did you solve these problems? Did it make any difference where you put the switch in your circuit? What stopped the light from working? Discuss the fact that the switch breaks the circuit, and this has the same effect as a wire coming loose.


Ask the children to experiment with using one battery to light two or more bulbs. Is there more than one way to do this?

Suggested homework

Hand out copies of the Using electricity worksheet. Ask the children to look at each circuit carefully and circle the ones they think will light the lamp.


Resources for teachers

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy