Class Circuit Acting





Name of Activity Class Circuit Acting
Author STOMP
Keywords acting, circuit, electricity, resistors, current, switches, battery, electrons, protons, charge
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will work as a whole to play different parts in a circuit. There will be live presentations of electron flow, and the entire class will need to work together in a circle to make the circuit run.
Lesson Objectives: To teach the role of: wires, protons, electrons, batteries, resistors and switches.
Materials Needed: -Plastic balls (half labeled with a positive sign and the rest labeled with a negative sign)
-Two buckets: one will act as the proton side of the battery, and the other will act as the negative side of the battery.
-Signs that students can wear. Each will be assigned the symbol of either a resistor, switch (open switch on one one side of the sign and closed switch on the other), and a lamp. Students linking hands will serve to be wire.
Preparation and Set Up: Prepare all the proton and electron balls in their buckets. Have signs ready in order to assign roles to students. Before setting up the class in a circle to begin the activity, it is important to go over briefly the different parts of the circuit.
Necessary Background Understand the role of wires, resistors, open switches, and closed switches. Also understand the role of the battery and how electrons are the ones that flow throughout the circuit (use electron flow not conventional current).
  1. Introduce all materials: balls with plus signs are protons, balls with negative signs are electrons, one bucket represents the positive terminal of the battery, another bucket represents the negative terminal of the battery, signs will be assigned to different students one by one.
  2. Get students together in a circle with the buckets filled with their respective balls also in the circle.
  3. Explain that the bucket with the protons will not be touched since the electrons will be the ones that move (electron flow).
  4. Explain that the first student will grab a ball from the electron bucket and pass it on the the student next to them.  This first student can grab more balls from the bucket and continue passing as long as all students follow the rule that you can only pass the electron if the next student doesn’t already have one.
  5. That electron will be continued to be passed around the classroom until the last student drops it into the proton bucket.
  6. Explain that all electrons move (current formed) due to attraction to protons, and that is why all the electrons end up in the proton bucket at the end.
  7. Once all electrons are exhausted explain that each student in this circuit acted as wire (wire is a path for electrons to move through).  Also explain that a circuit with only a batter and wire is a short circuit.
  8. Explain why short circuits are dangerous, and therefore circuits need resistors.
  9. Bring all electrons back to the negative terminal bucket to restart the process, this time with a new part.
  10. Introduce the first sign and assign 1 or 2 or 3 students the role of a resistor.
  11. Any student who is the resistor must count 3-5 seconds when the electron reaches them before passing it on to the next student.  This will help illustrate that resistors slow down electrons.
  12.  Restart the circuit and introduce a new sign: the switch.
  13. The switch will have an open switch on one side and a closed switch on the other.  Assign this role to a student.
  14. Start off with the open switch and attempt the activity.  Keep resistor rolls in to keep practicing the role of a resistor.  Once the electron reaches the student acting as the open switch stop the class. Ask the students if the electrons will keep moving or not.  Discuss why.
  15. Restart the circuit again this time with a closed switch.  Ask why switches might be used in a circuit.
  16. Introduce the last sign: the lamp.  When the electrons reach the student acting as a lamp let them recreate what would happen (maybe jump up to show brightness or hold the electron above their head for a moment).
  17. Review the parts of a circuit in one last run through.
Extensions: This activity is a version of an already existing activity. This activity was created because it differed from the existing version. The other version can be found under online references.
Modifications: Bring in signs of different parts: diodes, motors, and fans.
Reference 1
Online Reference(s)
Previous Activity (if applicable)
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable)

Making Lightning





Name of Activity Making Lightning
Author Ramona Gravesande
Keywords found materials, electricity, current, lightning, electrons, protons, thunder
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will use household materials to create an electric current similar to lightning.
Lesson Objectives: To teach students how lightning forms and why it strikes.
Materials Needed: Aluminum pie pans
Styrofoam plates
Wool cloth
Preparation and Set Up: Gather necessary materials.
Arrange student into groups of 2 – 4.
Distribute necessary materials.
Necessary Background Lightening occurs when a connection is made from electrons in the bottom of a cloud to protons in the ground. Electrons in the bottom of the cloud are attracted to the protons in the ground. When the connection is made the protons rush to meet the electron and that is when you see lightening. A bolt of lightening heats the air along its path casing it to expand rapidly. Thunder is the sound caused by this rapid expanding air.


  1. Push a thumbtack through the bottom center of an aluminum pie pan.
  2. Push the eraser of a pencil through the thumbtack to make a handle to lift the pan.
  3. Take a styrofoam plate and rub the underside with wool  for one minute, rubbing hard and fast.
  4. Pick up the pie pan with the dplace it on top of the upside-down styrofoam plate again.
  5. If students do not feel anything they should rub the styrofoam plate again and touch the pie pan with the lights out and see what happens.
Reference 1
Reference 2

Ohm’s Law and Series Circuits





Name of Activity Ohm’s Law and Series Circuits
Author STOMP
Keywords circuit, electricity, Ohm’s Law, voltage, resistance, current
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will build a simple circuit using previous knowledge about electricity. They will use Ohm’s Law to analyze the circuit.
Lesson Objectives: - To introduce electricity, circuits, and electrical engineering.
- To apply Ohm’s law to real circuits.
Materials Needed: - 24 Gauge AWG wire, cut to 8 inch lengths w/stripped ends. Give each student group 5 – 6 8 inch pieces.
- 9V battery with connector plate.
- 2 1-Watt light bulbs with lamp bases.
- 2 Toggle switches.
- Alligator clip.
Preparation and Set Up: - Make a copy of the worksheet for each student.
- Prepare a demo circuit.

- Arrange students in groups of 2 – 3.

- Distribute materials.

Necessary Background Ohm’s Law describes the relationship between the voltage, current, and resistance of a circuit. This relationship is given in the relationship Voltage = Current x Resistance. Knowing this relationship, it is possible to find any of the three values as long as the other two are known.

Ohm’s Law

  1. Go though slides 6 – 8 of the attached Powerpoint
  2. Go over your demo circuit and calculate the current using Ohm’s law Current (amps) = Voltage/Resistance
    1. Voltage can be found on the side of a battery (9V for this activity).
    2. Resistance is about 81 ohms for each light bulb.
  3. Distribute the worksheets and materials and assist the students in creating the circuits and calculating the current using Ohm’s law.
Extensions or Modifications: Design on paper a circuit of your choice, using whatever size battery and resistors you want. Calculate the Voltage, Resistance and Current in your circuit. Your teacher will show you a circuit that she or she has built. Draw a circuit diagram representing it.
Reference 1
Reference 2
Reference 3
Reference 4
Reference 5

Wire Maze Challenge





Name of Activity Wire Maze Challenge
Author STOMP
Keywords Electrical Engineering, maze, loop, wire, current, switch, open circuit, closed circuit
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will be constructing a game made out of a simple circuit with a movable loop of wire that can be guided over a curved “maze” wire. The object of the game will be to guide the loop along the maze without touching the loop to the maze wire. If the student does touch the loop to the wire, the circuit will be complete, turning on the light bulb, and signaling the touch.
Lesson Objectives: - To teach students about electrical circuits.
- To teach students about electrical currents.
Materials Needed: Per Group:
- One 9V battery w/connection plate and attached wires.
- 24 inches of un-insulated wire (stripped insulated wire between 20 – 24 AWG should work).
- One 1-Watt light bulb w/ lamp base.
- One 24 inch length of insulated wire w/stripped ends.
- One 8 inch length insulated wire w/stripped ends.
- Electrical tape.
- Cardboard base (optional).
- Four alligator clips (optional).
- Popsicle stick or pencil.
Preparation and Set Up: - Show the first five slides of Powerpoint attached.
- Break the class into groups of two.
- Distribute worksheets and building materials.
Necessary Background Vocabulary:
Electrical current
Open circuit
Closed circuit
  1. Connect 1 wire of the battery connection plate to the light bulb using an 8 inch strip of wire.
  2. Attach a 24 inch length of insulated wire to the other side of the light bulb. The end of the wire not connected to the lamp should be stripped of insulation for the last three inches of its length.
  3. Curl the stripped end of the long wire into a small loop approximately ½” across.
  4. Using electrical tape, create a handle for the wire ring by fastening the remaining wire to the end of a pencil or popsicle stick.
  5. Using a 24 inch strip of wire without insulation, create a looping and bending “maze” that the ring will have to follow.
  6. Put one end of your maze through the wire loop on the end of the popsicle stick, and then tape both ends to the cardobard base so that the maze sticks up into the air.
  7. Use a gator clip to attach the other terminal of the battery connection plate to the end of the maze. Leave one end of the un-insulated maze taped to the table with nothing else connected to it. You should now see that when your loop touches the wire path the light bulb turns on!. See if you can guide the loop along the maze without touching the wire and turing on the light.
  8. Discuss with the class why the light bulb only goes on when the loop touches the wire.
Extensions or Modifications: If you finish with the wire maze with extra time remaining, try to figure out a way to add an additional loop to the maze. There are two different ways to wire this circuit – you can either have the light bulb turn on when either one of the loops touches the wire, or you can have it turn on only when both loops are touching the wire. Draw your new circuit below using the electrical engineering symbols on the previous page.

The diagrams below are two possible approaches to this extension.

Be careful not to connect the battery terminals together if there is no resistor in between
them! This creates what is known as a short circuit, and if left connected for too long will
quickly drain the battery.

Reference 1
Reference 2
Reference 3
Reference 4

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