Go With the Flow

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Students will be able to name and use the basic components of a circuit, while describing the flow of electricity.

Big Idea

Although students are typically able, through trial and error, to light a bulb, building knowledge of building a complete pathway for charges to travel from a source to a receiver is essential.


3 minutes

In our previous lesson, I asked children to explore and document what they already knew about electricity and had them try to find a few new ideas. 

Today, I will ask them to try to explain to their shoulder partners first, and then to the whole group, "What makes a circuit successful?"

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

To set the students up for today's activity, I will explain to them that sometimes when we learn from videos and other media, it helps to draw a picture of what is being explained.  It is just like making a movie in our minds when we read. 

I show this short clip of two children completing an experiment.  I tell the students we will use it to practice drawing detailed sketches to summarize learning. As we watch, I will pause frequently and ask the students what they think this is mostly about. In this way, I am able to help them practice using their observations into main ideas or details. Following the video, We will discuss a way to summarize the experiment. 

While the students are drawing, I will circulate and view their work, while prompting conversation. This student explains to me how he is producing an illustrations to depict the chemical reaction that takes place. This is fantastic, as I want my students to be able to define a main idea, and represent it in more ways than just writing. 

Active Engagement

20 minutes

Following our group practice, I will show the movie Magic School Bus Gets Charged.  The students are prompted to watch, take notes if they need, and draw a sketch of the main idea.  As you may be aware, The Magic School Bus videos are full of information, which is presented quickly and usually as part of a problem that the class is facing. My third graders love to watch these videos, and I felt that watching would help them visualize the concept flowing electricity better than I could have explained it!

Following the video, I asked table groups to discuss with each other what they think the main idea of the movie was and what they plan to draw. Then the student's drew what they thought the video was trying to teach them.  I also asked the students to label and use sentences to clarify their understanding. 


Sharing and Closing

5 minutes

As a closing, I asked the students to begin describing their drawings. What ended up happening was a debate of sorts. That is a science teacher's dream come true. Listen to these two videos and the vocabulary the students use, as well as their attempt at making sense of the concepts. 

In this clip, the students disagree with each other, make hypothesis, and edit their understandings.