Building Complex Electrical Systems

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SWBAT design an electrical system that converts energy from one form to another to meet a particular need.

Big Idea

How do electrical components work together?


5 minutes

I teach this lesson at the end of my electricity unit, just before my final assessment.  This serves as a big picture review, and places the ideas we've been learning about back into a more real life context.  I read them the introduction of Building Complex Electrical Systems, and then show them the following example:


30 minutes

I have them work through each challenge at their own pace.  I have them use glue sticks and pencils to create their systems because there is a lot of discussion between students as they share their ideas, and ask questions about each others' plans ("What if you need it at night?").  They may ask if they "did it right," but just remind them there is more than one way to create a system.


5 minutes

As students finish, I have them find a partner from another table to share their designs with, and I encourage them to ask each other questions about things they may not have thought of.  I chose to have my students take these papers home and encouraged them to share them with their families.  It did not seem appropriate to collect this for assessment because there is so much discussion along the way. As an assessment option, you could have students write a short description for each design which would give them the opportunity to explain the process of energy transferring, as well as use the correct vocabulary.

There are two things you could emphasize if you choose.  First, you could have the explanation for #5 be a full writing assignment and assess for whatever traits you choose.  Second, you could emphasize where each of the wires connect to each of the components to reinforce the learning about wiring different types of circuits.