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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years Science Clips
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Ages 5 - 6 Ages 6 - 7 Ages 7 - 8
Ages 8 - 9 Ages 9 - 10 Ages 10 - 11

Science topics ages 8 - 9
Circuits and conductors

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

Offline lesson plan


Understand why devices in some circuits shown in drawings will work, but devices in other drawn circuits will not because the circuit is broken

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

Electricity packs comprising range of electrical components

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 board. What materials are conductors? Explain that if the conductors (wires, connections on bulbs) in a circuit are not connected, the circuit will be 'broken' and the electricity will not be able to flow through the circuit.

Divide children into groups. Give each group an electricity pack and a copy of the worksheet. Ask the groups to first go through the worksheet, predicting whether the bulb in each circuit will be off, on dimly or on brightly. Then ask each group to construct the circuits with real components. Were their predictions right?

Ask each group to talk through one of the circuits they constructed. Did the bulb light? If so, did it light dimly or brightly? Why? In the discussions, bring out the key points, i.e. that the circuits with breaks in did not light the bulb, that those with a large ratio of bulbs to batteries lit the bulbs dimly, and that those with a large ratio of batteries to bulbs lit the bulbs brightly.


Draw three more circuits (including some broken circuits) that include one or more bulbs. Ask other children to investigate these circuits to see in which ones the bulbs light.

Suggested homework

Compose a poster showing the dangers of mains electricity.


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