Thursday, September 1, 2011

Annotated Bib - Electricity

Electricity can be defined as many things, but one of the main components is the presence and flow of electric charge. We know that electricity is what powers our homes, lights, computers and any other object that might require power. By studying electricity we learn about atoms, electrons and how they form currents to transport power to the major power plants and generators that light the world.

In VA, electricity is introduced in the fourth grade Standards of Learning. The resources found in this post are most appropriate for the fourth grade. (SOL and Background Info at end of post.)

Benjamin Franklin and Electricity. By Steve Parker. Illus. by Tony Smith. 1995. 32p. Chelsea House, (978-0791030066). Gr. 4-5.
This upper elementary school book gives thorough detail on Benjamin Franklin's life and his advancements in electricity. This is a chapter book that starts with the beginning and ends with the other major contributors to electricity after Franklin. This books also provides a detailed glossary at the end of the book.

Electricity (Simply Science Series). By Darlene R. Stille. 2001. 32p. Compass Point Books, (978-0756509736). Gr. 4.
This Simply Science books gives a thorough explanation of electricity and its many parts. It begins with the definition of electricity, touches on the history behind it, how to experiment with electric charge, a brief description of how electricity works with magnets and then descriptions of the many different types of motors and how they work with electronics. The last section of the book describes how your brain uses electricity to transmit signals to your body. The end of the books also contains a great list of vocabulary terms.

Flick a Switch. How Electricity Gets to Your Home. By Barbara Seuling. Illus. by Nancy Tobin. 2003. 32p. Holiday House, (9780823417292). Gr. 3-4.
This adorable book is about JoJo and her dog Willy and their discovery of how electricity gets to you home. They talk about the many different kinds of electricity, inventions that were made early on, and the process it takes to get into your home. The end also has three fun activities that you can do to demonstrate how electricity works.
How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning. By Rosalyn Schanzer. Illus. by author. 2003. 40p. HarperCollins, (978-0688169930). Gr. 3-4.
A fun read with LOTS of information on Benjamin Franklin and his many inventions. The main focus of the book is the day Ben sent his kite into a thunderstorm and discovered that lightning in fact was electricity. Once he figures this out he invents the lighting rod and saves many of the colonial homes from fire.

Switch On, Switch Off. By Melvin Berger. Illus. by Carolyn Croll. 1990. 32p. Collins, (978-0064450973). Gr. K-3.
Although slightly juvenile, this is a great book to illustrate how electricity works in the home. This shows a little boy turning the lights on and off and what that means as related to electricity. This books does a great job explaining how electricity travels through wires into the home and back to the power plant or generator.

The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip. By Joanna Cole. Illus by Bruce Degen. 1997. 48p. Scholastic Press/New York, (978-0590446839). Gr. 1-4.
You can never go wrong with a Magic School Bus Book! This time Ms. Frizzle takes her students on a crazy field trip through the town's power plant. The kids learn about coal, steam and the process of how electric energy is sent through towers and transformers to ultimately light buildings, appliances etc. Almost every
aspect of electricity is covered in this book.


This website has several electricity related activities that can be performed in the classroom.

This is a fun game for students to review their knowledge of circuits and conductors. This game will also help students identify different types of objects that can create an electrical charge.

This website has several games and activities for students and teachers. If you scroll half way down you'll find a link to a power point for Electricity Jeopardy!

This website is a simple and fun way for students to review what requires electricity and what does not. This could be fun to start the lesson off!

Another great resource for teachers. This website has TONS of information including games and lesson plans.

For Teachers
VA Standard of Learning
SOL 4.3 The student will investigate and understand the characteristics of electricity. Key concepts include:
b) basic circuits
c) static electricity
d) the ability of electrical energy to be transformed into light and motion, and to produce heat;
e) simple electromagnets and megnetism
f) historical contributors in understanding electricity.

Background Information from Curriculum Framework
  • A continuous flow of negative charges (electrons) creates an electric current. The pathway taken by an electric current is a circuit. Closed circuits allow the movement of electrical energy. Open circuits prevent the movement of electrical energy.

  • Electrical energy moves through materials that are conductors (metals). Insulators (rubber, plastic, wood) do not conduct electricity well.

  • In a series circuit, there is only one pathway for the current, but in a parallel circuit there are two or more pathways for it.

  • Lightning is the discharge of static electricity in the atmosphere.

  • Electrical energy can be transformed into heat, light, or mechanical energy.

  • A current flowing through a wire creates a magnetic field. Wrapping a wire around certain iron-bearing metals (iron nail) and creating a closed circuit is an example of a simple electromagnet.

  • Benjamin Franklin, Michael Faraday, and Thomas Edison made important discoveries about electricity.

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