What if there were no electricity?

What if there were no electricity?

Lesson narration:
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DISCUSS (1 of 2):

Imagine power is out for a day. How would that affect your life? (For example: What things stop working? What things do you lose the ability to do?)

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DISCUSS (2 of 2):

Now imagine power is out for a week (or even a year). What are some ways this might affect your life?

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DISCUSS:

Besides making things move, what else can electrical energy do? (Think about examples from the story.)

Hint...

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity and exploration you just completed.
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Watch and Discuss

Historical footage from the 1930s shows how life changed when electricity made its way to rural America. Watch the video (7:32) and talk about the differences between then and now:

  • How did electricity change life in the home? On the farm?
  • How did electricity change the lives of men, women, and children?
  • Could you live without electricity in your house today?
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Reading

Electrical lights have transformed our world, making it possible to light up the night. But sometimes there can be too much light!

This article talks about light pollution, a problem that’s making it harder and harder for us to see—and study—the night sky.

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Videos

  • How does a flashlight work? This video shows how electricity makes its way from a battery to a bulb—circuits, switches, and all. (4:41)
  • Energy journalist Lee Patrick Sullivan is the animated host of this video, which traces electrical power from its source to its use. (5:18)
  • Just for the fun of it! This quirky, thought-provoking power-company ad imagines life without electricity. (1:09)
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Activity: Make a Lemon Battery

All you need are a few lemons, some pennies or copper wire, paper towels, and a nail.

This downloadable PDF from The Tech Museum of Innovation includes information on standards, vocabulary words, and ideas for extended learning. (Grades 4–8)

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Challenge: Turning Your Flashlight On and Off

Your light up card works as a flashlight — it’ll let you see in the dark. But you probably want more than that in a flashlight.

Change your flashlight to make it easy to turn on and off. Watch this video for ideas if you get stuck.

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Lesson narration:

Activity Prep

Print Prep

In this lesson, students are introduced to electricity as a form of energy. In the activity, Build a Flashlight, students investigate how electrical energy requires a circuit and make their own mini flashlights from LEDs, button batteries, and strips of aluminum foil. Along the way, they’ll learn about the anatomy of a battery, begin to see how circuits work, and discover how handy an on-off switch can be.

Preview activity
COVID-19 Adaptations
Students can work solo
Digital worksheets available

Students at home
Each student needs: 1 battery, 1 LED, 1 index card, a sheet of aluminum foil (4”x12”), and stickers. Students also need the Flashlight Maker worksheet (printed or digital).

Exploration

22 mins

Wrap-Up

3 mins

Extend this lesson

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