Learning the Ropes with Electricity

Carrier, Sarah and Rex, Ted. “Learning the Ropes With Electricity.” Science and Children (2016): 36-39. NSTA, March 2013. Web.

In the article “Learning the Ropes with Electricity,” a 5th grade class builds a model that illustrates closed circuit for advanced students. The teacher introduces the lesson by telling them what they will be learning about electrical circuits and asking them about their prior knowledge on electricity. Then the teacher lets the students start the experiment and challenges them to design circuits in order to light a light bulb. The teacher then describes the role of electrons and models the meaning of potential energy and kinetic energy. The teacher provides scaffolding to help students visualize the need for circuits in lighting light bulbs and allows for student discussion. Then the students complete the rope activity. The article provides instructions for setting up the activity. During the rope activity, the students are circled around the teacher, and the teacher uses this opportunity for ongoing formal assessment, by asking her students questions to get them thinking deeply. As a summative assessment, students will draw and label models of an electric circuit. This activity allows students to be hands-on with their learning of circuits and energy in order to engage them and deepen their understanding.


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