Electricity Classroom Lesson Plans and Activities for Young Children

Young children know that they turn on a light switch and there is light, they watch TV and use other electrical appliances not really realizing that they are powered by electricity. Children do not quite understand why these things work, they just know that they do.  A classroom assignment on electricity is an excellent way to teach young children how the everyday objects they use turn on and off

Veggie and Fruit Volts.

This simple assignment will show children what different items produce voltage and can be used with electrical conductors to produce electricity, which powers lights, and the other objects they use.

Objective: To teach young children how electricity works in a fun and interesting way.

Academic Standards: Science, history, creativity, and critical thinking.

Materials Needed:  Switch On, Switch Off by Melvin Berger, vegetables, fruit, voltage meter, small light bulb (4 volts, Christmas lights work best), several small electrical wires, 4-volt battery, several nails, and glasses of different fluids such as water, juice, and soda pop.

Procedure: Read the book Switch On, Switch Off to the students to introduce them to electricity and how it works.  Explain to them that you will be conducting an experiment in electricity. You will find different items that provide voltage and use a nail as the conductor to power a small light bulb.  After the experiment is concluded, the students can write a short summary on what they learned.

Activity:  Before beginning, place one end of the electrical wire on the bulb and the other end of the wire on the nail.

Place one of the  other electrical wires on the other wire of the bulb and attach the other end to the battery to see if 4 volts is enough to power the light. It should be plenty, if not add batteries until the bulb lights up.

Remove the wire from the battery, place a nail in the different objects such as fruits, vegetables, liquids, one at a time, and test the amount of voltage produced by each object.  To do this place the voltage meter on the nail that has been inserted into each object.  This will give a reading.

Once the items have been read you can attach them by adding more nails and electrical wire. Once the amount of voltage to power the light is acquired, hook the objects to the wire on the bulb and it will light up.

It is fun to test several different objects to see how much voltage they produce. A grapefruit will produce more voltage than an apple.

Assessment: Students will learn about voltage and electricity. They will learn how to power a small bulb.

This is a fun project that can be expanded to power more than a light bulb. However, the small bulb is best used to simplify it for smaller children.