What Do We Already Know?

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Students will be able to express what they already know about electricity and explore to improve and or prove their knowledge.

Big Idea

Self-guided exploration is a fabulous way to introduce a unit. In this lesson, students will explore components of an electrical circuit and will be challenged with communicating their beginning understandings.


3 minutes

Today's questions are very basic. "What do you think you know about electricity? What do you wonder about electricity based on what you already know?"

I will have the students share, as a whole class, their ideas and beginning understandings, as this will set a stage for us to be able to have class conversations regarding growth in learning.  

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

My mini lesson is really just setting the students up for an exploration today.  Following their discussion about what they think they know about electricity, I will hand out a graphic organizer that will walk them through reporting their knowledge. 

I will also show them an example of a tray of supplies they will use today in order to meet the challenge of lighting a lightbulb: 2 wires, one bulb, a bulb holder, and a D cell battery. 

I will then explain to the students that they should use all they know about electricity in order to light the bulb.  

Active Investigation

20 minutes

As these students worked, they continued to call components "thingys", which gives me a lot of information. However, they also discussed transporting energy from an energy source to a receiver. I love that they shared their observations and their background knowledge. If I take a few minutes in another session to explain what each component is called, imagine how this discussion would sound. Great information for a future mini lesson. 

These students discussed circuits, which I quickly questioned to find out how they knew that term. Another student made a connection to our Snap Circuit boards in the room, which they have been using during indoor recess all year. If you have not seen these, google them, as they are a wonderful investment. 

I was able to glean information from this group about what purpose the battery serves, why they needed wires, and how they could possibly form a circuit. In this one lesson, I was able to gather information to help me develop at least 3 mini lessons. 


Closing and Sharing

5 minutes

To close, I asked students to share their Electricity Investigation.png investigation Electricity Investigation 1.png with another group. Then, I had everyone gather at the community area and share anything they were wondering, stuck on, or realized. Students were also invited to share their Electricity Investigation 3.png on the document camera if they found it necessary to report their findings. 

This is one of my favorite closings, as it puts the next step in the student's hands.