Electricity Flow NGSS

Contributor
Teachers Try Science/Tess Vannata
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Experiment/Lab Activity
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This resource has students performing an inquiry lab to design a parallel electrical circuit to keep bulbs lit even when one in another branch is removed (burns out). The activity requires students to draw their circuits and to keep making changes, if needed, until they are successful. Then they have to write a report discussing their work and also detailing how energy flows through the circuit and gets the bulbs to light up.

The resource has detailed instructions and support for both instructors and students. The resource was intended for 4th grade, but with the elements of the NGSS that are selected below, and coupled with the suggestions provided, it is actually well suited for a regular level high school physics course if the teacher skips Activity 1 and instead uses Activities 2 and 3: circuit analysis of a string of lights in series, and design of a circuit which will light the string even when one bulb is removed.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-PS3-3 Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on both qualitative and quantitative evaluations of devices. Examples of devices could include Rube Goldberg devices, wind turbines, solar cells, solar ovens, and generators. Examples of constraints could include use of renewable energy forms and efficiency.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment for quantitative evaluations is limited to total output for a given input. Assessment is limited to devices constructed with materials provided to students.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The instructor will want to have first taught lessons about energy transfer/conversion and electricity, specifically, the requirement of a closed conducting path to establish an electric circuit. It may be beneficial to give students some background on what’s going on inside a battery in terms of the energy. Another activity that could be used in conjunction with this one is the PhET Circuit Construction simulation: https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This resource does a great job of meeting the principles of the Practice discussed above. Students could do independent research about how different holiday light strings stay lit even when one bulb burns out. A detailed Writing Rubric is included to guide students in constructing written explanations.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Because Conservation of Energy and energy transfer are only inferred in this resource and not explicitly stated, the instructor may want to teach those principles before assigning this activity. In addition, students should have prior knowledge of the various forms of energy present in this activity (chemical, electrical, and light). The resource allows students to explore the conversion of energy that starts out stored as chemical energy in the battery and is then converted to electrical energy in the circuit and finally light energy as some of the electrical energy powers the light bulb.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Neither energy nor systems and models are explicitly mentioned in this activity so the instructor may need to give their students prior experience with those concepts. However, the activity does ask students to perform a specific task (lighting a light bulb), so the detail of the Systems and System Models is fully addressed if teachers help students to overtly make the connection between the task and the idea of systems.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Neither energy nor systems and models are explicitly mentioned in this activity so the instructor may need to give their students prior experience with those concepts. However, the activity does ask students to perform a specific task (lighting a light bulb), so the detail of the Systems and System Models is fully addressed if teachers help students to overtly make the connection between the task and the idea of systems.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: A student is able to engage all three dimensions of the NGSS. Students meet the Practices by Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions to design an electrical circuit that powers a string of lights when one is broken or missing. In so doing, learners must work within constraints to solve a design problem. Students use the Disciplinary Core Idea of Definitions of Energy to write a report explaining how energy flowed through their circuit and how energy was converted from one form to another. Finally, by addressing the previous two components, students will also address the Cross Cutting Concepts because they will have already needed to explain how energy is conserved and converted from one form to another. In addition, students will address the Cross Cutting Concept of System and System Models because they need to perform a specific task (creating a circuit to light a bulb).

  • Instructional Supports: The resource does an admirable job of engaging students in a real world scenario that they have to make sense of. In addition, the resource has detailed instructions for the teacher on how to implement the lesson in the Instructional Resources tab.The lesson plan includes ideas for introducing the concepts, questions to elicit prior notions and misconception, and explicit step-by-step procedures for implementing each activity phase. High school teachers may want to skip directly to Activities 2 and 3: circuit analysis of a string of lights in series, and design of a circuit which will light the string even when one bulb is removed. Teachers should look at the EQuIP rubric attached to the lesson, where strengths, weaknesses and suggestions have been laid out.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The handout requires students to make drawings of their circuits and also write a report. A detailed Written Rubric is provided to guide students in the writing process. Both allow the instructor to monitor student progress. Teachers should look at the EQuIP rubric attached to the lesson, where strengths, weaknesses and suggestions have been laid out.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -