# 4.3 - Characteristics of Electricity

The student will investigate and understand the characteristics of electricity. Key concepts include

a)  conductors and insulators;

•  apply the terms insulators and conductors in describing electrical circuits   Bloom's Level:  Apply

b)  basic circuits;

• apply the terms open and closed in describing electrical circuits. Bloom's Level:  Apply
• differentiate between an open and closed electric circuit   Bloom's Level:  Analyze
• use the dry cell symbols (-) and (+)   Bloom's Level:  Apply
• create and diagram a functioning series circuit using dry cells, wires, switches, bulbs, and bulb holders  Bloom's Level:  Create
• create and diagram a functioning parallel circuit using dry cells, wires, switches, bulbs, and bulb holders   Bloom's Level:  Create
• differentiate between a parallel and series circuit   Bloom's Level:  Analyze

c)  static electricity;

• design an investigation using static electricity to attract or repel a variety of materials  Bloom's Level:  Create
•  explain how static electricity is created and occurs in nature  Bloom's Level:  Understand

d)  the ability of electrical energy to be transformed into light and motion, and to produce heat;

• describe the types of energies (thermal, radiant, and mechanical) that are transformed by various household appliances (lamp, toaster, fan)  Bloom's Level:(Understand)

e)  simple electromagnets and magnetism; and

• create a diagram of a magnetic field using a magnet   Bloom's Level: Create
• compare and contrast a permanent magnet and an electromagnet   Bloom's Level: Analyze
• explain how electricity is generated by a moving magnetic field   Bloom's Level: Understand
• construct a simple electromagnet using a wire, nail or other iron-bearing object, and a dry cell   Bloom's Level: Create
• design and perform an investigation to determine the strength of an electromagnet ( the independent variable could be the number of coils of wire and the dependent variable could be the number of paper clips the magnet can attract   Bloom's Level: Create / Apply

f)  historical contributions in understanding electricity.

• describe the contributions of Ben Franklin, Michael Faraday, and Thomas Edison to the understanding and harnessing of electricity Bloom's Level:  Understand

### BIG IDEAS

Electrical energy is an important aspect of everyday life.

### UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARD

• 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.
• Among conducting materials, the rate at which energy flows depends on the material’s resistance.
• 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.
• Rubbing certain materials together creates static electricity.
• Lightning is the discharge of static electricity in the atmosphere.
• Electrical energy can be transformed into light or motion, and can produce thermal energy.
• Certain iron-bearing metals attract other such metals (also nickel and cobalt).
• Lines of force extend from the poles of a magnet in an arched pattern defining the area over which magnetic force is exerted.
• An electric current creates a magnetic field, and a moving magnetic field creates an electric current.
• 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.

### ESSENTIALS

Essential Questions:

·  Why is it important to understand the difference between conductors and insulators?

·  How can we control the flow of electrical energy?

·  How can electrical energy be changed into other forms?

·  How are electricity and magnetism related?

·  How did scientists figure out how to harness electrical energy?

In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will

• apply the terms insulators, conductors, open and closed in describing electrical circuits.
• differentiate between an open and closed electric circuit.
• use the dry cell symbols (–) and (+).
• create and diagram a functioning series circuit using dry cells, wires, switches, bulbs, and bulb holders.
• create and diagram a functioning parallel circuit using dry cells, wires, switches, bulbs, and bulb holders.
• differentiate between a parallel and series circuit.
• describe the types of energies (i.e., thermal, radiant, and mechanical)that are transformed by various household appliances (e.g., lamp, toaster, fan).
• create a diagram of a magnetic field using a magnet.
• compare and contrast a permanent magnet and an electromagnet.
• explain how electricity is generated by a moving magnetic field.
• design an investigation using static electricity to attract or repel a variety of materials.
• explain how static electricity is created and occurs in nature.
• construct a simple electromagnet using a wire, nail, or other iron-bearing object, and a dry cell.
• design and perform an investigation to determine the strength of an electromagnet. (The independent variable could be the number of coils of wire and the dependent variable could be the number of paperclips the magnet can attract.)
• describe the contributions of Ben Franklin, Michael Faraday, and Thomas Edison to the understanding and harnessing of electricity.

### KEY VOCABULARY

attract - to pull together

Benjamin Franklin - proved that lightning is an electrical current that exists in nature

circuit - the pathway taken by an electric current

closed circuit - allow the movement of electrical energy

conductors - allow electrical energy to move through easily; examples include metals

dry cell -  another name for a battery

electric current - created by the continuous flow of negative charges (electrons)

electricity - a form of energy made by electrons; static and current electricity

electromagnet - a type of magnetism which is created when you pass an electric current through a coil of wire; this type of magnetism can be turned on and off

electrons - atomic particles with a negative charge

insulators - do not all electrical energy to move through easily; examples include rubber, plastic and wood

lightning - an example of the discharge of static electricity in the atmosphere

magnet - attract certain kinds of metal; typically made from special iron bearing metals

magnetic field - lines of force which extend from the poles of a magnet in an arched pattern; this is the area of magnetic force

magnetic poles - magnets have south and north poles; like poles repel and unlike poles attract

Michael Faraday - one of the first people to determine that a magnetic field could produce electricity and used that knowledge to invent the first electric generator; electric motor

open circuit - prevent the movement of electrical energy

parallel circuit - there are two or more pathways for electrical current

permanent magnet - does not lose its magnetism as an electromagnet does

repel - to push apart

series circuit - one pathway for the current

static electricity - electrons that do not flow, but build up on a material

Thomas Edison - did not invent the light bulb, but did invent a light bulb that would burn for a very long time; developed world's first power station

Updated: Oct 04, 2017