Bright ideas about electricity/Background

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Thesis Statement

When we flick a light switch or tune into our radio, it’s easy to forget the science behind these simple routines. Electricity is an important and powerful phenomenon to understand because it powers many important parts of our lives! It is also important to learn more about electricity in order to keep ourselves and others safe. Through this fun and insightful exercise of making a flashlight, we will learn about electric currents, open and closed circuits, conductors, and the reaction that occurs with in a dry cell battery to create the electricity used to power the flashlight. We’ll start with a little background about atoms. Let’s get charged up!


I. Introduction

a. Electricity is important; without it there would be no lights, TV, and you wouldn’t be able to charge your IPOD
b. Thomas Edison: invented the light bulb

II. Atoms

a. All matter is made of atoms
b. 3 main parts of an atom are: neutrons, protons, and electrons
c. Electrons move between atoms and a current of electricity is created
i. This is what happened with a piece of wire
1. Electrons are passes from one atom to the next atom making an electrical current

III. Conductors

a. Some things conduct electricity better than others (electrons move through them well)
i. Examples: metals

IV. Circuits

a. A link or bridge between the negative and positive area because electrons can’t jump
i. Electrons move quickly across the bridge
b. Along the circuit you can place a light bulb and an on/off switch
i. The light bulb change the electrical energy to light energy
ii. When circuit is open – the bridge is broken so electrons do not move around the circuit and the light bulb does not go on
iii. When circuit is closed- the bridge links the negative and positive areas and electrons move quickly around the circuit and the light bulb goes on
c. Current: number of electrons moving on the circuit
d. Voltage: amount of charge between the sides of the circuit

V. Activity

a. Create a Flashlight out of : toilet paper roll, batteries, tape, wire, and a small light bulb
b. Explain open and closed circuits and converting electrical energy into light energy


Energy Quest. 18 December 2006. California Energy Commission. 19 January 2009.