Notes For Teacher



The experiments build on each other and provide enough experience so the kids will be able to have some understanding of how a computer works. If you want, we can arrange to dismantle a computer for you class when the experiments are complete. Each experiment should take about 1/2 hour. Activities such as 4A, 5A are not experiments. They are either suggested related activities or demonstrations.

Make a Battery Holder

A. Get kids familiar with electrical components and how to use them
B. This is needed for all experiments

Simple circuit

A. Get kids familiar with electrical components and how to use them
B. Understand that electricity needs a closed loop/circuit
C. Introduction to conductors

Conductors and insulators

A. More thorough exploration of conductors and insulators
B. Use of their simple circuit as a tool

Is Electricity Safe?

A. Become familiar with the concept of voltage
B. Understand the difference between using batteries and household current
C. Introduce units of Volts, Amps and Watts
Related Activity: Have students write a biography of Volta, Ampere or Watt and their contribution to electricity.

Series circuits

A. Introduce the concept of "series"
B. Energy from battery is finite and must be shared

Switched circuit

A. Become familiar with a switch and how it works


A. Introduction to digital communications used in a computer
B. Introduction to Morse Code and how letters/words can be reduced to a bit stream
C. Practical application of electricity

Parallel circuit

A. Introduce the concept of "parallel"
B. Challenge to combine previous concepts


A. Introduce the concept of resistance
B. Use "real" components
C. Revisit sharing of available energy, but unequal sharing this time.

Lightning rod

A. Practical application of electricity.

Simple computer

A. Begin to understand that you can do complex functions with simple electrical circuits.
B. This is the main component in a computer.


A. basic exploration of what a magnet is

Magnetic Fields

A. Using a compass to map out magnetic field lines


A. Understand that an electrical current can cause magnetism
B. Understand that a material can remain magnetized even after electricity is removed.
Related Demonstration: Show that the content of a tape can be destroyed by a strong magnet, thereby demonstrating that the information on the tape is stored magnetically. Record something on a cassette tape and play it for the kids. Pull the tape out of the cassette and run a strong magnet over it. Wind the tape back into the cassette and play it again.