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Understanding ElectricityUnderstanding-Electricity

  • Subject: Physical Science
  • |
  • Grade(s): 9-12
  • |
  • Duration: One or two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Objectives


Students will
  • research one of three professions related to electricity;
  • write a story about performing this job; and
  • share their ideas with their classmates.

Materials


Procedures

  1. Show students the "Electricity's Power" segment, having them focus on the professions — lightning researcher, scientist specializing in electricity in space, and a lineman.

  2. Next, have each student choose one profession. Each student's task is to learn about the profession and write a story as if they worked in that field.

  3. Give students time in class to work on their stories. They may use the following Web sites as starting points for their research:

    Lightning Researcher
    http://www.floridaenvironment.com/programs/fe00703.htm
    http://www.pr.ufl.edu/we_said.htm
    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/resources/askjack/walightn.htm

    NASA Research on Electricity
    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0202/05proseds
    http://www.mufor.org/rch3.htm
    http://www.padrak.com/ine/BLOWSNASA.html
     

  4. As students work on their stories, make sure they include the following:

    • an individual worker's tasks
    • safety precautions
    • accomplishments
    • high points of the profession
  5. Encourage students to be as creative as possible. Have them incorporate details about the profession to make the piece exciting or suspenseful.

  6. Ask volunteers to share their stories. Try to have all three professions covered in the student presentations.

  7. Conclude the lesson by asking students if they realized how many professions involved electricity. Discuss whether the activity broadened their ideas about career options.

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Evaluation


Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points: Students participated actively in class discussions; researched a profession thoroughly; and wrote an interesting, informative, and creative story.
  • Two points: Students participated in class discussions; researched a profession; and wrote a competent story.
  • One point: Students did not participate in class discussions; did not complete research about a profession; and did not write a complete story.

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Vocabulary


current
Definition: The flow of electricity
Context: A circuit provides a path along which an electrical current can flow.

electrical energy
Definition: Energy associated with the movement of electrical charges
Context: The power of running water can move turbines in a generator, resulting in the production of electrical energy.

electrician
Definition: An individual who has knowledge of electrical systems and who can build and fix electrical systems.
Context: During power outages, people often turn to an electrician for help.

lightning
Definition: The dramatic collision of a positively charged object and a negatively charged object that produces an electrical spark
Context: Lightning, or the discharge of an electrical spark, occurs when electrons move from areas of negative charge to areas of positive charge.

lineman
Definition: A specialized worker who sets up and repairs power lines
Context: The lineman, whose job requires climbing on power lines to inspect or repair them, has a difficult and dangerous job.

static electricity
Definition: The type of electricity associated with the accumulation of excess electrical charges on objects
Context: Lightning is the most dramatic example of static electricity, but we usually experience it after walking on a carpet and then touching something containing metal.

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Standards


The National Academy of Sciences provides guidelines for teaching science and a coherent vision of what it means to be scientifically literate for students in grades K-12. To view the standards, visit this Web site: http://books.nap.edu/html/nses/html/overview.html#content.

This lesson plan addresses the following national standard:

  • Physical Science: Motions and forces; Interactions of energy and matter

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Credits


Marilyn Fenichel, education writer and editor

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