To begin our exploration into circuits and how energy is transferred, students need to understand what the word circuit means. I ask if any student has heard of it and many have heard it, but are honest and tell me that they do not know how to explain what it is. We discuss a circuit as being path where an electrical current can flow. I draw a circle onto the board to show how a circuit might be drawn. I do not go beyond the circle because the lesson is more inquiry based where they will be engaged to learn how a circuit works without much direction from me. I ask them to write down what a circuit is into their science journal.
This part of the lesson is the fun part. I place students into pairs and give them the following items: a battery, wire, and light bulb. They need to bring their science journal with them. I then explain that each group needs to create a circuit where the light bulb will light. The one trick is that they need to do this and track their progress in their journal. As they try a method, they need to write into their journal and then explain if it worked or not. They will continue this process until they get a working circuit. I walk around and monitor the process. I only remind groups to document their work in their journals, but do not offer hints or suggestions.
Students have worked very hard to try to get the light bulb to light. In order to help I hand out the battery holder and bulb holder that came in the Foss kit. I did this to see if they would be more successful with lighting the bulb. This does make the concept easier for my students to understand but none of them are quite there. This is where I offer the hint to the whole class to try to make the circuit a circle. This then gets a few groups going in the right direction. Although they get close, the light does not light.
I bring the class over and demonstrate what I was seeing and then ask them to help me. As a class we manage to create the circuit and light the bulb. This gets the class excited and I send them back to their groups to create their circuits. I remind them to write the successful process into their journal.
In conclusion we will discuss the process and what did and did not work.