Electrical Waves

by Winifred Malvin

This lesson was created as a part of the SMART website and is hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology




This is a unit on Electricity. It will help you understand why electricity is used more  than any other energy in the world.         

There are many uses for electricity everywhere you may go. If you don't think so, just see what happens when the power goes off.

After reading this site, I feel you will have a different outlook about electricity. You will learn about electrical energy.  

You will become aware of the dangers of electricity as well as the importance of its safe use.





        The students will be able to:




  This lesson can be used for grades 3-6

   In this lesson students will know that an electric current is produced when electrons 

   travel along a conductor. They will learn that the electron flow is controlled by the use 

   of conductors, insulators, and switches.

   They will learn ways in which electrical energy is produced and used.

   The students will realize that this form of energy is one of the most valuable,  and versatile

   forms of energy. On the other hand, they will know it's also one of the most dangerous.

   This lesson will acquaint students with some of the methods and techniques used to control 

   this important form of energy. 

  The lesson will begin with a discussion drawing on the prior knowledge of the class, regarding electricity. 

  The teacher will ask questions about what the students think electricity is, how is electricity is generated.

  The discussion will cover the transmission of power from the power plant.

  The students will form groups. Each group will have a specific area to investigate.








      1.  Blow up and tie balloon

      2.  Rub balloon with the wool briskly.

      3.  Slowly bring balloon near your hair or your group members hair,

            do not allow the balloon to touch the hair. 

       4.  Observe and record what happens.








      1. Rub the comb briskly with wool cloth.

      2. Hold the charged comb near the pieces of

          paper. (do not allow the comb to touch the paper)

      3. Observe and record what happens. 










1.  In a _______ circuit, there is only one path for the movement

     of electrons. (short, parallel, series)

2.  The flow of electrons in a circuit is measured in _______. (kilowatts, volts, amperes)

3.  If two uninsulated wires touch one another, a ________ circuit may result.

     (series, parallel, short)

4. The force that moves electrons is measures in _______. ( volts, kilowatts, amperes)

5.  Branch circuits in homes are connected in ________ circuits. (series, parallel, short)

6.  Safety devices used in home electric circuits are circuit breakers and _________.

     (conductors, fuses, meters)


   Checking the facts answers:

     1. series                   4. volts

     2. amperes               5. parallel

     3. short                    6. fuses




  Column B contains some terms related to magnetism and electricity.

  Column A describes some things you can do when you work with

  electricity and magnetism. Match the terms in column B that best 

  matches the activities in column A. Write the term in the blank.


                COLUMN A                                    COLUMN B


  1. Turning on a flashlight_________                 current electricity

  2. Rubbing a comb with a piece of  wool,          electromagnet                     

       so the comb is charged____                        negative charge

  3. Putting a soft iron nail in a coil of                  static electricity

      wire conducting electricity_______              permanent magnet

   4. The charge on the wool in number 2            positive charge


    5. Getting a "shock" when you walk

        across a rug in winter__________




I.      True-False

If the sentence is true, write the word true in the blank.

If the sentence is not true, write false in the blank.


1.  In a dry cell, the electrolyte is in the form of a thick paste. _______

2.  Two or more cells connected together form a transformer. _______

3.  Electricity is produced from radiant energy in a motor. __________

4.  Another name for a wet cell is an electrochemical cell. __________

5.  A wet cell is made from strips of different metals and an acid. ____


      True-False answers:

     1. true      3. false     5.  true

     2. false     4. true




   II.    Fill in the blanks

    Write a word or term in the blanks to make the sentence complete and true.

    1.  When a magnet is moved back and forth through a coil of wire, mechanical

          energy is changed to _____________ energy.

    2.  When light energy is used to produced electrical energy, the process is

          called _____________ .

    3.  Electrons have three kinds if motion; they spin on an axis, they orbit a nucleus

          of an atom, and they move along  _____________ .

    4.  Much of the electrical energy used in satellite comes from ____________ .


    Answers to fill in the blank:

         1.  electrical                3.  conductors (or wires)

         2.  photo electricity     4.  solar cells (or sunlight)







  Circle the correct answer for questions 1-7 

   1. When a short circuit occur?

                a. when electricity lights a bulb

                b. when we accidentally leave the lights on

                c. when a power line falls across another one


    2. What is the material called that electricity can not easily travel through?

                a. insulator                             c. circuit

                b. filament                              d. conductor


    3. Where does the electricity we get from an electrical outlet come from?

                a. a short circuit                      c. a filament

                b. a power plant                     d. the ground


     4. What is the path called that comes from a battery to a light bulb and back to the battery, 

          that makes the light bulb light up?

                 a. a short circuit                      c. a power line

                 b. a circuit                              d. a filament


      5. Which of the following is usually an insulator, but can conduct electricity if :

                  a. the voltage is high enough    

                  b. the electricity travels through the ground

                  c. it comes from a battery

                  d. it flows through a filament


       6. If a hair dryer falls into a sink full of water, you should  never reach in and pull it out :

                  a. because water is an insulator

                  b. because you can become part of  the electrical path to the ground

                  c.  because your body is an insulator

                  d. because the electricity stays outside the hair dryer


         7. Which of the following materials makes a good path for electricity?     

                   a. a high voltage                         c. an insulator

                   b. a short circuit                         d. a conductor 



The following materials will be used for this unit. In order to

make the most of your time, it is suggested that the following materials

are put onto a plastic and given to the groups as they assemble.




   for each team of 3 to 5 students:






Investigating and experimenting

Recording and communicating









 power plant





 short circuit



 circuit testers




 high voltage

 power pole         


   chemical propulsion:  http://www.neofuel.com/factorthousandraw/DFDbigger.html

   simple short circuit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_circuit


  Make sure the students realize the importance of the activities and lessons they have just completed.

  Emphasize the significance of safety rules that will keep them out of dangerous situations with electricity.

  Review with the students what to do if an emergency should happen:

  1.  They should stay away from a person who is being shocked, so they do not become a part of the

       electricity's path to the ground.

   2.  They should immediately tell and adult and suggest the electricity be" turned off."

   3.  They should call 911 or an emergency number for help.



   Rubric for Projects

    25  points-- Validity --- Are their conclusions correct?

    25  points-- Creativity --- Is their project presented in a unique manner?

    25  points-- Depth and Detail --- Did their project involve in depth, research or did they skim the surface of the materials?

    25  points-- Final Draft --- Were the directions followed? (Spelling and neatness is included)


     TOTAL  100 points

     Scoring for the handouts, worksheets, tests, you should use the universal E-Z Grader





       Paths for Electricity, ComEd.

       ABC's for Electricity, ComEd.


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