Florida Science Standards
SC.5.P.11.1 Investigate and illustrate the fact that the flow of electricity requires a closed circuit (a complete loop).
SC.5.P.11.2 Identify and classify materials that conduct electricity and materials that do not.
Connecting to Other Standards
Teaching electricity is MUCH easier if students have already learned about atoms (SC.5.P.8.4) and energy (SC.5.P.10.1, SC.5.P.10.2). It also ties in with:
SC.5.P.10.4 Investigate and explain that electrical energy can be transformed into heat, light, and sound energy, as well as the energy of motion.
- Substances which easily gain and lose electrons tend to be good conductors of electricity. It is easy for electrons to move so an electric current flows easily.
- Substances which hold their electrons more tightly tend to be poor conductors of electricity. The tighter they hold their electrons, the more the substance acts as an insulator.
- For electricity to flow through a circuit, it must have a complete pathway from one end of the circuit to the other.
Conductors and Insulators: Many sources try to classify substances into insulators and conductors as if it was an either/or classification. Whether a substance is an insulator or a conductor depends on voltage. Many substances are insulators at low voltage and conductors at higher voltages. With enough voltage, even substances that are usually thought of as excellent insulators (glass, plastic, etc.) become conductors.
Covering the Basics:
To give your students a basic understanding of this topic, do the following.
- The activity in the Simple Circuits video will cover the basics of these standards. While watching the video will expose your students to the concepts, actually doing the activity is well worth the time and materials. If you need help finding LEDs and resistors for this activity, email me.
- The Introduction to LEDs video can be very useful for background information, and for troubleshooting problems with the Simple Circuits activity to be sure that your LED is attached to the battery correctly.
- My Electricity video can be very useful for background information, and as a general introduction to electricity. This is the program that I toured the country with for over 20 years.
Supporting Standards from Previous Grades
SC.3.P.10.1 Observe and describe some basic forms of energy, including light, heat, sound, electrical, and the energy of motion.
SC.4.P.10.1 Observe and describe some basic forms of energy, including light, heat, sound, electrical, and the energy of motion.
If you need help with science questions, ways to explain or demonstrate concepts, or have a suggestion for an activity, please email me.