Currently viewing the category: "Electricity and Magnetism"

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


Name of Activity Squishy Circuits and Circuit Diagrams
Author STOMP
Keywords squishy circuit, circuit diagram, electricity
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Using experience with squishy circuits and the symbols for elements in a circuit, students will practice building and drawing circuits. The circuits will have batteries, LED lights, and Play-Doh as resistors/wires (that bit can be confusing, especially when talking about short circuits!)
Lesson Objectives: The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to circuit diagrams and to get them to think about designing circuits. They will practice going back and forth between drawing circuits and building them. In addition, students will practice figuring out why a circuit isn’t working the way it’s meant to.
Materials Needed: Each group (2-3 students) should have:
9V battery
2 LED lights
2 Alligator clips to connect the battery to the rest of the circuits
A worksheet with example circuits for them to build and room for them to draw the circuits that they build
Preparation and Set Up: While one person introduces the class, the other person can distribute materials and worksheets to each group.
Necessary Background Teachers should be familiar with the symbols used and with the idea of a short circuit and the idea that electrons flow through the path of least resistance.
  • Start the class off by reviewing the different components of a circuit and their respective symbols (a good idea is to write these on the board so that everyone can see them).
  • While that’s going on, the other person can distribute materials.
  • Have the students fist try to look at an example circuit diagram and build it, showing the flow of electrons.
  • Then, have them build a new circuit and draw it.
  • After that, have them build a circuit from a diagram that has something wrong with it (a short circuit, an open circuit… etc), try to fix the circuit, and then fix the diagram and explain why it didn’t work.
  • Giving the students worksheets seems to work well for groups that go at their own pace. It also seems to keep the students focused especially when it comes to writing down and explaining their thoughts.
Extensions: If a group finishes early, they can play a game where one person draws a circuit (that either works or doesn’t) and the other person has to build it. If the circuit was purposefully designed to be broken, the other person also has to figure out how to fix it.
Modifications: use snap circuits instead of squishy circuits.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Intro to Electricity and Circuits

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