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Energy / Electricity 4th Grade Lesson

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Nicholas Brehm Nicholas Brehm 230 Points

Hello there fellow educators! I am currently a pre-service teacher in my science methods course and have been asked to write a lesson plan on energy transference and electric circuits (see description below).

Standard: Energy can be transformed from one form to another or can be transferred from one location to another.
Objective: Electric circuits require a complete loop of conducting materials through which electrical energy can be transferred.

I am thinking of having students learn about this topic through the five E's. Below is my basic lesson plan idea. Please leave any comments or suggestions you might have for teaching at least a few phases of the learning cycle in a minute bell. Thank you in advance for your help! 

- Show a working simple circuit and ask students to complete the K and W in a KWL
- Design and construct a switch that can turn a light on and off in a circuit. (possibly use Snap Circuits)
- Go through a presentation (with visual aids) and videos that explain how electricity works and flows
- Have students build a circuit that contains two light bulbs.
- Do the L in KWL
- Take notes on student’s knowledge and vocabulary during Explore
- Final, end-of-unit- summative assessment

Allison Evers Allison Evers 795 Points


Your lesson seems very engaging and looks great!  I think electricity is something that students really find to be a lot of fun to learn about.   My suggestion would be for students to have an interactive notebook or a journal that they could record their learnings, findings, misconceptions, etc.  This would also be a great place for them to sketch a plan for their circuit they have to build!  Students could also write a small reflection on how they thought their learning went from the lesson.

I hope your lesson went great!


Joseph Bellina Joseph Bellina 160 Points

This lesson plan looks good.  Just a couple of comments.  For the engage why not use the bulb battery and wire investigation someone else mentioned.  If you process this carefully in discussion you can anchor the notion of a closed circuit.  This is very important because the idea of energy transfer can lead students to think they only need one connection to the bulb and the battery to make it light.  The switch is a nice extension, provided it is like a knife switch so students can clearly see that the path is broken when the switch is opened.  Rather than your explaining how electricity works, try to get them to describe what happened and why they think it happened and build off that rather than a powerpoint.  When they light two bulbs, there are two ways to do it, so different students could make different observations.  You will be need to be ready to deal with that.  If you have them build a series circuit a common explanation is that the bulbs are dimmer because some of the flow is used up in the first bulb.  This can be complicated because one bulb may appear more bright than the other.  If this comes up, one approach is to ask them what would happen if they switched the position of the bulbs.  If some flow was used up you would expect that the bulb that was dimmer because it was second would not be brighter because it is first, but that is not what happens.  The dimmer bulb is dimmer either way.  That casts doubt on the idea that flow is used up.  By the way, limit the concepts to current, don't introduce voltage.  Everything is best explained at this level in terms of current.

good luck with it.


Nanette Fladung Nanette Fladung 1340 Points

One of the things I like to do is to give students a light bulb, battery, and a single wire. Ask them to figure out how to light the lightbulb with just those three things. You can see this and some other neat electricity-related activities at


Lauren Walls Lauren Walls 1405 Points

Hi there! 

Your lesson sounds pretty good so far! I think you could deepen the content for your students by tweaking a few simple things.

I just recently read this article, and I think it'll help you add one more element to your KWL chart - the E (evidence), which is definitely appropriate for 4th graders. Check it out here:

Try asking your students questions that get them thinking: How is this (item) "working" or "turning on"? What can you see happening? What can you not see happening? I could also suggest allowing your students to "experiment" by themselves first before/instead of telling them what they are going to do. This way, they are able to discover parts of the phenomena on their own, and you're not killing their wonder. Then, you could do your demonstration. For circuits, I would personally allow my students to explore with different types of circuits - basically, give them more than just one opportunity for them to get their hands on the materials.

Some other good evaluation/assessment strategies you could think of implementing are: having students create a drawing that depics what they think is happening inside the circuit, creating their own (additional) model, or you could use an Interactive Science Notebook. 

Good luck on your circuit lesson, and happy teaching!

-Lauren Walls

Kate Mellon Kate Mellon 990 Points

Hi! I think your lessons looks great- it seems like it will keep your students engaged and motivated to learn about energy and electricity with the variety of activities you have planned. With your KWL chart, you could have students write these down in an interactive science noteboook that they keep personally. I have found that my own students love to each have their own ISN. It makes them feel like they are responsible for their learning and are in control of what they write down and learn. Good luck with your lesson!


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