Name of Unit Electricity and Magnetism
Author(s) Katie Davis and Joe Okai
School Columbus School
Teacher Mrs. Collins
Brief Description An introduction into simple electric engineering with lessons based in static electricity, circuits and magnets
Grade(s) 3, 4, 5
Keywords Static, circuits, magnets, electromagnets, magnetism
Number of Weeks 8
Week 1

Introduction to Static Electricity

Students use plastic balls and/or balloons to attempt to pick up various objects using static electricity. This activity will serve as an introduction to electricity in its simplest form!

Week 2

Squishy Circuits

Students will learn how to make a basic circuit, causing an LED bulb

to light up.

Week 3

Squishy Circuits

Students will learn how to make a basic circuit, causing an LED bulb

to light up.

Week 4

Build a Flashlight

We will discuss the applications of circuits to everyday life, and

ask the students to build a flashlight. They will be introduced to

the use of switches in circuits to turn them on and off. They will

also need to think about making their circuits compact for use in a


Week 5

Introduction to Magnetism

Students will be introduced to the concept of magnetism through a combination of discussion, video, and a short activity. Students will see how magnets affect a compass needle when brought close.

Week 6


Students will learn about the connection between electricity and

electromagnetism. They will then build their own electromagnets

using a battery, wire, and a nail, and attempt to pick up paperclips.

Week 7

Superhero Final Project

Our final project for the students asks them to create a

device to locate and pick up a magnetic villain hiding away in the

cave. The villain has destroyed all of the magnets on Earth, so

students will have to come up with an innovative way to pick up the


For this final project, we will create a dark “cave” and a villain

made out of paperclips. Students will have to combine their

knowledge of electromagnets, lights, and circuits to beat this evil


One Response to Electricity and Magnetism – Davis + Okai

  1. Students enjoyed this curriculum, and learned quite a bit through the use of the activities along with Powerpoint presentations and the occasional Bill Nye clip. We originally planned to also cover parallel circuits, but decided it was more important in the beginning of the semester to spend two weeks on squishy circuits rather than moving on before the class was ready.

    If I could do this unit over again, I think that I would try to incorporate more of a design element in each activity which included designing FOR A USER. It was apparent during the final project that most students were not thinking about designing an object for a superhero.

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