This Little Light of Mine, Part I
Duration of Activity:
Two, 55-minute class periods
Description of Activity:
Students will investigate open and closed circuits by interacting with a Web site about circuits. The students will also have a hands-on approach by constructing open and closed circuit using a battery, wire, and a light bulb. After constructing the circuits, they will write a short story from the point of view of a light bulb using Microsoft Word.
Objectives: The student will
- investigate electricity by using a battery, wire, and bulb to create a circuit.
- construct an open and closed circuit using a battery, battery holder, bulb, bulb socket, and two wires.
- create a short story from the point of view of a light bulb using Microsoft Word, adding clip art to illustrate their writing.
Prerequisites (skills or background needed):
- The students should be able to insert clip art into a document.
- The students should be able to save their information on floppy disks.
- The teacher should know how to use a Smart Cart and/or LCD projector.
- The teacher should know how to use Microsoft Word or other word-processing software.
- The teacher should know how to use Microsoft PowerPoint or other presentation software.
The teacher will
- instruct the students to close their eyes for a few minutes. At this time the teacher will turn off the lights and in a whisper have the students think about what life must have been like without electricity. The teacher should guide the students through a normal day without electricity. As the students open their eyes have a PowerPoint presentation ready to share with the class.
The first slide will have a black background with This Little Light of Mine appearing on the screen in bold letters. Handout 1: PowerPoint Introduction to “This Little Light of Mine” and the associated file can be used for this part of the lesson. At this time, the teacher will show the students various strengths of light by shining flashlights with different light intensities around the room. The students will note the strength of each flashlight.
- distribute Handout 2: Graphic Organizers—KWL to each student. While the lights are still off, guide the students in completing a KWL chart. KWL stands for “What you know,” “What you want to know,” and “What you have learned.” Have the students brainstorm what they know about electricity and how it works. Add this information under the K column of the KWL chart. Next, discuss information the students want to learn about electricity. Add this information under the W column of the KWL chart. After each student has completed a KWL chart on their own make a chart to share with the whole class. The last column of the KWL chart should be completed at the end of the lesson.
- divide the students into cooperative groups. Try to keep each group to a maximum of four students if possible. Have a student helper pass out batteries, wires, and bulbs to each group. The teacher will instruct each student to experiment with the battery, bulb, and wire to see if the student can make the light bulb glow (i.e., create a simple circuit). After working on their own, each group member will work with their group to help solve the problem. Teachers should not reveal the answer.
- give ample time for each student within the group to experiment with the battery, bulb, and wire. At this point, discuss with the students what an electrical circuit is and how it allows the electric current to flow. Remind the students that they have just created a simple circuit.
The teacher will go to the Web site Tech Topics: Electricity—Simple circuit / http://www.thetech.org/exhibits/online/topics/12c_flash.html to display an example of a circuit. Discuss the information found on this page with the students. Using the battery, wire, and light bulb the students will complete Handout 3: Will “This Little Light of Mine” Shine?”
- lead the students to a virtual circuit at Tech Topics: Electricity—Simple circuit / http://www.thetech.org/exhibits/online/topics/12c_flash.html.
Using the LCD projector or a Smart Cart, explore the web site with the students. Discuss what a circuit is by guiding the students through the information found on this page. The teacher will prompt students by posing various questions about the image they are viewing.
- have a pair of students from each group create an open circuit and have the other pair create a closed circuit using the two wires, a battery, a battery holder, a light bulb, and a bulb socket. After each pair has completed the circuit they will build the opposite type of circuit. When making the open circuit the students will explore the various ways that a circuit can be considered open.
- have the students complete the L part of the KWL chart individually. Now, the teacher will review the students regarding the material covered in this lesson by using Handout 4: PowerPoint Review on Circuits, which is an interactive review on circuits. After the review, the students will complete the L part of the KWL chart as a whole class.
- have the students write a short story pretending that they are a light bulb and discussing how it might feel during the day while they are “on” (closed circuit) or while they are “off” (open circuit). Were they lonely, happy, sad, excited, hot, cold and so forth? What was their day like? Did they meet any new people today? The students will publish their story using Microsoft Word, inserting clip art to illustrate their writing. The teacher will grade the student’s writing by using Handout 5: Creative Writing Rubric found at
The student will
- brainstorm about what a normal day without electricity would be like.
- complete a KWL chart on electricity.
- create a simple circuit by using a battery, bulb, and wire.
- construct an open and closed circuit using a battery, bulb, and wire.
- create a short story from the point of view of a light bulb.
- publish the story using Microsoft Word or other presentation software.
- Students who are more proficient with technology will be paired with students who have less experience.
- Pair students with reading deficiencies with students who or more proficient in reading.
- Students requiring extra time can be allowed to work on their projects if they have free time to do so during the school day with the permission of their teachers.
- Students with experience using Microsoft PowerPoint can complete their creative writing using this software program. For those students who finish early, the students can add animation to their presentations.
- If Microsoft Word is not available for use Microsoft Works, WordPad, NotePad, or other word-processing software can be used.
- Creative Writing
- Teacher observation of cooperation among peers and with the teacher as well as whether the student stays on task or not
- Handout 5: Creative Writing Rubric found at
- Examine the transformations of forms of energy. (P)
- Design and construct electrical circuits (open, closed, series, parallel).
National Educational Technology Standards (NETS):
- Use general purpose productivity tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, remediate skill deficits, and facilitate learning throughout the curriculum.(3)
19 Science Inquiry (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental concepts of science inquiry.
Demonstrate the ability to perform science inquiry.
Through text, diagrams, and drawings, provide explanations of investigations, analyze investigations, and communicate results.
20 Physical Science (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles of physical science. Apply physical science knowledge to investigations and real-world contexts.
Through text, diagrams, and drawings, provide explanations of physical science concepts and principles.
Link and Feedback to Author(s):
Mary Dimino, Central School, West Point, MS