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20 October 2014
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Physics: Electricity and Magnetism

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Electricity and magnetism lesson plan

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KS3 Bitesize


  • All students should be able to draw series and parallel electrical circuits
  • Most students will be able to describe how current changes depending on circuit components
  • Some students will understand how an electromagnet is created

Bitesize English fish

National Curriculum

  • Sc4.1


  • Batteries, wires and crocodile clips, switches, bulbs, motors, buzzers.
  • Small compasses.
  • Flashcards of symbols and circuit types

Teaching activities


Brainstorm and list objects which work by using electricity. Include both battery operated and mains powered items. Ask where the power to run both types of item comes from (transfer of electrical energy either from battery or power station).


  1. For each item listed, write a transfer showing how energy has moved e.g. a Fan: electrical energy * movement /kinetic energy
  2. Introduce symbols for electrical circuit diagrams. Draw examples of a complete circuit with the different symbols in. Emphasise that to work a circuit must be complete and have a power supply. If equipment is available let students make up working circuits. Students should draw simple circuits with different combinations of components. Describe how parallel circuits differ from simple series circuits. Again give examples and allow students to construct working parallel circuits. Draw examples of parallel circuits.
    Using an OHT of a series and parallel circuit ask students to predict the path of electricity / current around the circuit. Draw the path on to show both parallel branches have current. Q. Ask what happens if more batteries are added. Q. Ask what happens if more / other components are added- will it stop the current?
  3. Move compasses close to working circuits. Ask students if the needle changes position at all (if not more batteries may need to be added, or wires could be coiled around a pencil to concentrate their force). Use worksheet to learn about Electromagnets.


  • Use flashcards of different types of circuit and symbol to quiz student's knowledge of electrical circuits. Ensure both series and parallel circuits are referred to.


  • In the UK everyone has access to electricity. Find out alternative ways of doing things which we do using electricity, and say which countries they are used in.

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