Brief Description: Students explore circuits and test various materials for conductivity.

Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6

Time: 30-60 mins

Keywords: circuits, conductivity, electricity


Lesson Objectives

Using snap/squishy circuits, students will design circuits to test if different materials are conductive

Materials

  • Snap Circuit Version
    • Snap Circuit kits
    • Straws
    • Wire
    • Wood
    • Rubber bands
    • Pennies
    • Paperclips
    • Paper
    • Play Doh
  • Squishy Circuit version
    • All of the above materials
    • 9V batteries
    • LED lights

Procedure

  1. Review how a circuit works
  2. Electrons flow through the circuit because the wire is conductive. Conductivity is the degree to which a material can transmit electricity and can therefore continue electron flow.
  3. Today’s challenge is to test various materials and discover if they are conductive or not. Brainstorm with the class how they could test this.
    1. Students will eventually come up with the idea of making an open circuit that can be closed by the various materials. If the lightbulb can turn on after the material is used to close the circuit, students can conclude that this material is conductive. If the lightbulb does not turn on, students can conclude that this material is not conductive.
  4. Have students predict whether or not each material will be conductive before they test.
  5. Allow students to build circuits (either with snap circuits or squishy circuits) and test the various materials for conductivity.
  6. Wrap up by discussing what conducted electricity and what did not. What did the conductive materials have in common? Were there any that you predicted would be conductive that were not (and vice versa)?

Extensions and Modifications

  • If students finish early, challenge them to find conductive materials in the classroom

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