MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > Learning the science behind electricity.

Learning the science behind electricity.

Andrea Dammann, Osakis Public Schools, Osakis, MN
based on various camera activities on the web:,
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This is an interactive PowerPoint lecture followed by a laboratory investigation where students dissect a disposable camera.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to describe the physics involved in electricity.
Students will be able to describe and label the components of an electric circuit.
Students will be able to describe the effects of electricity on the human body and give examples of some safety precautions when working with electricity.

Context for Use

These notes and lab sheets can be used for a complete short lesson on electricity. It gives the basics and the lab demonstrates a complete circuit. Use of disposable cameras is also free (always a bonus). It could also be used as an introduction to electricity and the experiment could be used as a culminating lab.

Subject: Physics:Electricity & Magnetism
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity, Classroom Activity
Grade Level: High School (9-12)

Description and Teaching Materials

Students go through a PowerPoint lecture. Included is a short lab showing static with two pieces of tape and short movie clip of a man explaining his story of being electrocuted on the golf course. The end of the presentation has a brief overview of the camera lab. Surprisingly, students really enjoyed the PowerPoint presentation. PowerPoint 2008 (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 552kB May27 11) camera dissection lab word 2008 (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 79kB May27 11)

Teaching Notes and Tips

The PowerPoint has a short activity to get the students thinking about charges. It is a simple activity that kids enjoy. I tell each student to take two (approximately) three-inch pieces of tape, make a small fold for a place to hold and stick them to the end of their desk. The slide describes the activity in the notes section. Then I finish the power point. Included is a movie clip of a man being struck by lightening. I'm not sure if it will download but it is from United Streaming. Last is a lab using a disposable camera. The lab is attached. I get my disposable cameras from Target or Wal-Mart. They just recycle them and are glad to give them to if you explain that you use them for a science experiment for your school.


Lab activity, discussion


I.A.2. The student will be able to explain how scientific and technological innovations as well as new evidence can challenge portions of or entire accepted theories and models including but not limited to cell theory, atomic theory, theory of evolution, plate tectonic theory, germ theory of disease and big bang theory.
I.C.3. The student will provide an example of how technology facilitates new discoveries and the development of scientific knowledge.
II.C:3. The student will differentiate between AC and DC current.
II.C.4. The student will describe the production, storage and transmission of electricity.

References and Resources