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12 Mar

Today we were reviewing electricity. We started with Think-Pair-Share where we discussed what we already know about electricity – a good way of warming up our brains!

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Next we examined a concept cartoon that Ms Sexton got at her STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) course. We discussed what we thought about the cartoons and we generated questions and theories about it:

The switch turns the lamp on and off

It doesn’t matter where the switch is on the circuit because as long as there’s a power source and a bulb, they’ll light.

I don’t think that the small wire between the lightbulb and the switch needs to be there because it’s already connected.

Could you not just put the battery between the lightbulb and the switch? I don’t think you need as many wires as that.

I wonder if you could take out the battery and just light the bulb with the switch and the lightbulb.

I wonder if you could take out the switch and just have a small gap between the wires to see if the electricity would still pass through.

What would happen if you got a smaller battery that you could put into the switch and turn the switch into a power source?

Next we were given a set of drawings of circuits to assess. We filled in whether we thought the circuit would work or not and gave reasons why. In our Vines below, we predicted in our groups whether it would work by using Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down. We use Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down as formative assessment in class to show when we understand something (thumb up), when we’re not 100% sure (thumb across) or whether we’re completely lost (thumb down).  We then tested it with the materials we had on our desks.

After we tested each example, we discussed what we had observed and what we could infer and conclude from the observations.

Example 1:

We observed that the bulb didn’t work and that there was no battery. We inferred that the bulb wouldn’t work unless it had a power source.

Example 2:

We observed that the bulb lit up. We inferred that the bulb worked when it had two wires, bulb and power source (battery).

Example 3:

We observed that the bulb didn’t work. We inferred that there cannot be a break in the circuit or it won’t conduct the electricity. We wondered if it made a difference that we had a plastic casing around the copper wire so Miss cut the casing off, but it still didn’t work so we concluded that it was the break in the circuit that made the difference.

Example 4:

We observed that the bulb didn’t work. We had predicted that it wouldn’t, based on our observations from the previous example.

Example 5:

We observed that the bulb didn’t work when one wire touched the glass. We inferred that glass does not conduct electricity, but that metal does. We had a conversation about good conductors of electricity. Aaron reminded us of the work we did on circuits with the MakeyMakey Board. Leon talked about his work with the potato lightbulb for the Mini-Scientist and Aaron and Sam spoke about their project with Electric Paint, Scratch and MakeyMakey.

Example 6:
We observed that the bulb wouldn’t work. We concluded that the bulb needed to be connected to the battery at the negative and positive points, using wires or another conductive. Johnny, Kyle and Dylan from 6th submitted a project using tinfoil as a conductor during the Mini-Scientist showcase.

Example 7:

We observed that the bulb worked. We concluded that the wire was conducting the electricity from the power source to the bulb.

Example 8:

We observed that the bulb worked, even when the wires were tied in a knot. We inferred that it didn’t matter what the wire was like, as long as the circuit was unbroken.

Example 9:

We observed that the bulb was brighter with two batteries in the circuit than it had been with one. We inferred that the bulb was being powered by both batteries, rather than being powered by one and conducted through the other.

Example 10:

We observed that both bulbs lit, but the light was much weaker than when one bulb was powered by one battery. We inferred that both bulbs drew power from the battery and couldn’t be powered as brightly.

We were set a task to draw a circuit that we would test using Electric Paint, a battery and a bulb! The Electric Paint wasn’t quite dry by the end of the day, so we have to wait until tomorrow to test them! We have some cool circuit activities for Friday – have you any ideas what they could be?

If you’ve missed any of the lessons from Ms Sexton’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) course with St Patrick’s College and the RDS, you can find them below:

3 Responses to “STEM: Electricity”

  1. jack keenan
    10:11 pm on March 12th, 2014

    It was great fun making the light bulb work.

  2. alan p
    3:14 pm on March 20th, 2014

    That was very interesting.

  3. sam smith
    3:21 pm on March 20th, 2014

    It was deadly doing all the science stuff in class. I loved learning how much power you need to power a lightbulb 🙂

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