Name of Activity

Tiny Homes – Continue Circuit Building




tiny homes, sustainability, electricity, circuits, snap circuits, building, design


Building/EDP, Electricity & Magnetism

Grade Level

5, 6, 7


1 Hour

Brief Description

Introduce snap circuit kits. Teach parallel and series circuits and have students practice with the snap circuits.

Learning Goals:

Students will work in groups to further their understanding of circuits with the snap circuit kits. Students will see firsthand the effects of using parallel and series circuits.


snap circuit kits


Put students in groups of 3-4 (doesn’t have to be the same group as for tiny homes), snap circuit kit for each group (each kit should have batteries, a light, a fan, a switch and enough connectors)

Knowledge Background

Teacher should have the students in groups when you arrive, ideally teacher has some knowledge of electricity and renewable energy


  1. Recap what students learned the week before with squishy circuits.
    1. Discuss the concepts of open and closed circuits, electron flow, positive and negative charges.
  2. Teach parallel and series circuits. This can be done by drawing the circuits on the board and having students explain or act out where the electrons will go.
    1. Show how if a light goes out (or the circuit breaks) in a series circuit the whole circuit will go down, but in a parallel circuit the other components will be OK.
    2. Demo how a switch works by turning the classroom lights on and off
  3. Hand out snap circuit kits.
  4. Give students about half of the remaining time to play and familiarize themselves with the kits.
  5. When all of the groups are reasonably comfortable with the kits give them small challenges. For instance ask them to change what they’ve built from a parallel to series circuit or vice versa.
    1. Take a break to explain how parallel circuits are more robust if a component burns out. One way to do this is by drawing a parallel circuit on the board and have them explain what happens when you erase different parts of it.
  6. As you wrap up tell students to start thinking about how to implement circuits in their tiny homes.

Previous Activity (if applicable)

Squishy Circuits

Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable)

Tiny Homes and Energy Resources

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