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Understanding and Experiencing Electricity: Helping Students Understand the Process of Science through Electricity

Science class needs to be fun and engaging in order for students to gain the most understanding from it, especially when teaching a topic like electricity. A lecture followed by a list of definitions is not the key to student comprehension. This unit is intended to support and enhance the School District of Philadelphia’s fourth grade Science Core Curriculum through engaging, hands-on, and cooperative lessons. Throughout the unit, students will conduct experiments that investigate the following questions: What is electricity? What is a complete circuit? What is needed to complete a circuit? How do charges flow? How do different materials affect a circuit? How can a circuit be represented on paper with symbols? What is needed for a valid scientific experiment? Why is it necessary to have a control in an experiment? How can a circuit be adapted with different materials?

This unit consists of 8 lessons that address common misconceptions that students have about electricity. Students will be encouraged to develop their scientific process skills that build on one another as the unit continues. There is a balance between cooperative group work and independent responses. Through this unit, I hope to enable students to apply the experiences they have had with electricity and scientific concepts to their future science endeavors. I hope they will continue to ask questions, examine possibilities, test their hypotheses, and come to conclusions.

Sharon Mastrobuoni

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