The student will create and incorporate switches into simple electrical circuits.
(PA Science & Technology Standards: 3.4.4B)
The student will conduct an experiment using the scientific inquiry process.
(PA Science & Technology Standard: 3.1.4.B, 3.2.4C)
Observing, Experimenting, Problem Solving
Materials: (For each group of 4-6 students)
Paper fasteners (butterfly type)
Switches activity sheet
Pre-planning: Prior to the lesson, review the concept of conductors and ask students to identify examples. For the "Build a Switch" lesson, have the students bring in materials from home that could be used to create simple switches. Suggested materials could include aluminum foil, nails, wire, old keys, aluminum pie pans, and pull tabs from soda cans.
1. Direct the students to observe the diagram on the Switches activity sheet and discuss the purpose and definition of a switch.
2. Direct all groups of students to follow the diagram to construct and test the basic switch as shown in the diagram. One wire lead should be connected to a power source (battery) and the other should be connected to a bulb holder with a bulb in it. Monitor student work to make sure each group constructs a functioning switch; assist as needed.
3. As the groups of students are successful with the construction of a basic switch, direct them to create and test switches they create from the materials they brought in from home.
4. Direct students to diagram and label up to four successful switches on the Switches activity sheet. Students should be able to evaluate their success easily by seeing whether or not the bulb lights up. If their switches do not work, direct students to troubleshoot the switch system to eliminate the problem.
5. In their cooperative groups, have students discuss how a switch works and identify the importance of switch devices in their daily lives. Have the students debrief by having each group report their conclusions to the whole class.
Response to a journal prompt
In your own words, describe how a switch works. Using what you have learned about electricity, energy sources, and conductors explain why a switch works in scientific terms.
Student list or log
Ask students to compose a list (or compile a log) of electrical switches they use in a 24-hour period.
Have the students find examples of different kinds of switches, such as magnetic or temperature-sensitive switches. Ask them to build some of these on their own and incorporate them into a simple circuit.
Related Pennsylvania Resources
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