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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
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Science topics ages 8 - 9
Circuits and conductors

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

Online lesson plan


Understand the conductivity of different materials and the effect of changing the power source

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Science, Sc3 1c, Sc4 1b

Wales: Key Stage 2, Materials and their properties 1.3, Physical processes 1.3

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

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

Resources required

Online activity from Science Clips website: Circuits and conductors

Range of electrical components: batteries, wire, bulbs

Range of materials: non-conductors (e.g. chalk, rubber), conductors (e.g. coin, key)

Copies of the Circuits and conductors worksheet from the Science Clips website

Teaching activities

Ask the children to name as many electrical components as they can. Write these on the board. Show the real electrical components and see if children can match them to the words. What is the function of each? Ask children to name the materials the components are made from (metal, plastic and glass). Which parts are made of what and why? Elicit that the connections within the circuit itself are all made of metal because electricity flows through metal. Write the words conduct and conductor on the whiteboard. Are all metals conductors? Are only metals conductors? Accept all answers and ask them how they could find out.

Tell the children they are to carry out an online experiment to find out which materials conduct electricity and which materials do not. On the interactive whiteboard, bring up the Circuits and conductors online activity. Talk through the circuit that is displayed and why the bulb is not currently alight (there are gaps in the circuit). Show children how to fill the gaps with objects from the menu. Read aloud the tasks on the screen and ask children how they would go about each one. Once children understand what to do, divide the class into groups with a computer for each group. Ask each group to work through the tasks and keep a record of 1) which objects complete the circuit, lighting the bulb, and which do not, and 2) which number of batteries and bulbs make the bulb brightest or dimmest.

Which objects completed the circuit? Which objects did not complete the circuit? Revisit the questions posed at the end of the introduction in the light of the experiment results. What was the effect of increasing the number of batteries in the circuit? What was the effect of increasing the number of bulbs?


Hand out copies of the worksheet. Tell children to look carefully at each circuit and write whether the bulb would be off, on dimly or on brightly. When children understand what to do, allow them to complete the sheet independently.

Suggested homework

Compose a poster showing the dangers of mains electricity.


Resources for teachers

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