Electricity Field Trips

spectrUM is committed to supporting the next generation of scientists and innovators by engaging students in hands-on science. The exhibits and activities featured in our field trips are curated to inspire a culture of learning and discovery and are facilitated by trained educators who serve as role models by demonstrating a passion for science and pathways to higher education.

Field trips are designed to give students the opportunity to explore our museum independently to make their own discoveries, as well as work with our educators to learn science concepts through guided experiments and activities. While each field trip topic explores different themes, students and educators will model the scientific method and are encouraged to be curious learners. Field trip curricula are designed to meet NGSS, but may be adapted to all ages and abilities.

Essential Question

What is electricity and how does it work?

Objectives

Students will identify and explore models and uses of electricity.

Possible Activities

Students will design, test, and build circuits or batteries.

Students will explore the difference between series or parallel circuits.

Supporting Assessments

Formative: Educators and students will use and refer to concepts such as: electron, proton, atom, circuit, magnetism, charge, and electromagnetism.

Summative: Students will lead discussion using terms and science concepts to demonstrate understanding throughout activities.

Next Generation Science Standards Addressed

K-2

  • When objects touch or collide, they push on one another and can change motion. (K-PS2-1)
  • A situation that people want to change or create can be approached as a problem to be solved through engineering. Such problems may have many acceptable solutions. (ETS1.A)
  • With guidance, plan and conduct an investigation in collaboration with peers. (K-PS2-1)
  • Analyze data from tests of an object or tool to determine if it works as intended. (K-PS2-2)
  • Plan and conduct investigations collaboratively to produce evidence to answer a question. (1-PS4-1), (1-PS4-3)
  • Use tools and materials provided to design a device that solves a specific problem. (1-PS4-4)
  • Simple tests can be designed to gather evidence to support or refute student ideas about causes. (2-PS1-2)
  • Events have causes that generate observable patterns. (2-PS1-4)
  • Analyze data from tests of an object or tool to determine if it works as intended. (2-PS1-2)

3rd-5th grade

  • Electric, and magnetic forces between a pair of objects do not require that the objects be in contact. The sizes of the forces in each situation depend on the properties of the objects and their distances apart and, for forces between two magnets, on their orientation relative to each other. (3-PS2-3), (3-PS2-4)
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change. (3-PS2-3)
  • Plan and conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, using fair tests in which variables are controlled and the number of trials considered. (3-PS2-1)
  • Make observations and/or measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution. (3-PS2-2)
  • Energy can be moved from place to place by moving objects or through sound, light, or electric currents. (4-PS3-2), (4-PS3-3)
  • Energy can also be transferred from place to place by electric currents, which can then be used locally to produce motion, sound, heat, or light. The currents may have been produced to begin with by transforming the energy of motion into electrical energy. (4-PS3-2), (4-PS3-4)
  • Ask questions that can be investigated and predict reasonable outcomes based on patterns such as cause and effect relationships. (4-PS3-3)
  • Apply scientific ideas to solve design problems. (4-PS3-4)
  • Matter of any type can be subdivided into particles that are too small to see, but even then the matter still exists and can be detected by other means. A model showing that gases are made from matter particles that are too small to see and are moving freely around in space can explain many observations, including the inflation and shape of a balloon and the effects of air on larger particles or objects. (5-PS1-1)
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain change. (5-PS1-4)
  • Conduct an investigation collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, using fair tests in which variables are controlled and the number of trials considered. (5-PS1-4)
  • Make observations and measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon. (5-PS1-3)
  • When two or more different substances are mixed, a new substance with different properties may be formed. (5-PS1-4)

Middle School

  • Substances are made from different types of atoms, which combine with one another in various ways. Atoms form molecules that range in size from two to thousands of atoms. (MS-PS1-1)
  • Gases and liquids are made of molecules or inert atoms that are moving about relative to each other. (MS-PS1-4)
  • Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems. (MS-PS1-4)
  • Structures can be designed to serve particular functions by taking into account properties of different materials, and how materials can be shaped and used. (MS-PS1-3)
  • Although one design may not perform the best across all tests, identifying the characteristics of the design that performed the best in each test can provide useful information for the redesign process - that is, some of the characteristics may be incorporated into the new design. (secondary to MS-PS1-6)
  • The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system. (MS-PS1-6)
  • Undertake a design project, engaging in the design cycle, to construct and/or implement a solution that meets specific design criteria and constraints. (MS-PS1-6)
  • Electric and magnetic (electromagnetic) forces can be attractive or repulsive, and their sizes depend on the magnitudes of the charges, currents, or magnetic strengths involved and on the distances between the interacting objects. (MS-PS2-3)
  • The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system. (MS-PS3-3)