Learning Aims:
  • To learn to design and construct simple electric circuits using batteries, bulbs, wires and switches
  • To understand that there are different types of materials conducing or not conducting electric current
  • Zinc-carbon battery (4,5V), leads, wires of similar size and different materials, pencil lead, match, piece of plastic, distilled water, tap (salty, sweet) water, glass, porcelain, china plate with metal strip, etc.
Suggestions for use:
Divide the class into small groups of 2-3 and hand out Classroom Material: What material conducts electric current. Once the students can construct simple electric circuits, they can be asked to plan and design their own experiment to examine different materials and their conductivity. They should use a bulb as an indicator of current. Students should work within the group on their own realizing guided inquiry. Once they have completed the investigation they summarize the results and present them to the other groups. In case we do not have all materials for each group or we are lack of time, each group can investigate several of them. Finally we can do a contest on the longest electric circuit that makes the bulb light up.
Possible Questions:
  • What physical quantity does the bulb brightness indicate?
  • How do different materials connected into the circuit influence the brightness of the bulb?
  • Compare the current flowing through the circuit in each case.
  • Which materials are good conductors and which are not?
  • Why is it important to know if the material conducts electricity?