Name of Activity Snap Circuits and Conductivity
Author STOMP
Keywords conductivity, snap circuits, electricity
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Using snap circuits and the idea of conductive and insulating materials, the students will design a circuit to test whether various household items are insulators or conductors.
Lesson Objectives: The goal of this lesson is to introduce/review conductivity. Students will also practice designing experiments and practice building circuits.
Materials Needed: Each group (2-3 students) should have:
9V battery
snap circuits kit with wires, battery holder, resistor, LED light and/or lightbulb
household items (straws, wood, rubber bands, pennies, paperclips, paper, play-doh, plastic… etc)
a piece of paper to collect data
Preparation and Set Up: Make sure all snap circuit kits have the materials needed for the class. Make sure they don’t have the motors that have the detachable red fans as those are super distracting!!
Necessary Background Teachers should be familiar with conductivity and can also help students design their experiments to test the materials.
  • While one person introduces the class, the other can distribute materials.
  • Before they start working, you should review what makes a good or bad conductor and why.
  • You can pretend that they are scientists trying to discover new materials for conducting electricity, or something similar – this is to get them to take down data and think about why certain materials conduct electricity.
  • Once the lesson is introduced, give them a couple minutes to discuss how they will test the conductivity of the different materials.
  • Let them see if they can think of a way, but if they seem really stuck, you can steer them towards building a circuit with a light build and replacing wire with the material they are testing, making sure the circuit is still closed.
  • Depending on whether the light bulb is in series or in parallel with the battery, the light bulb will either turn on or turn off when a good conductor is placed in the circuit.
Extensions: If students are done early, they can test other materials around the classroom. Another etension is to see if they can think of a way to rank the materials in order of conductivity.
Modifications: This activity can also be done with snap circuits.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Electricity and Circuits
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