Use electricity websites for kids to round out your energy unit. Kids read informational text, study diagrams, and explore interactive simulations.
Ms. Sneed Finds Electricity Websites for Kids
Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, wanted more for her electricity unit. She already had some great static electricity activities, current electricity activities, and videos. What about some websites?
She sat down at the computer with her teaching partner and began searching.
“Let’s start with some passages,” she said to Mr. Frank. “Then we can do double duty. We’ll teach reading and science at the same time.”
“Great,” he replied. “Why don’t you click on that one?
“It’s really thorough,” said her teaching partner. “Notice how it scaffolds from basic to more complex. This section on measuring electricity clearly explains some more scientific information.”
“At the bottom, they’ve included a section on the history of electricity in a timeline.”
“More text features.” the teachers said in unison.
“And now it’s triple duty,” grinned Mr. Frank. “We’re adding some social studies.”
Next, Ms. Sneed pulled up an interactive diagram from DK Find Out. “Wow, I love this!” As she clicked on parts of a circuit, definitions popped up.
“Perfect!” Mr. Frank exclaimed. “Look at the battery. Both electrodes are on the top. Remember the way our kids froze on last year’s test? We taught them using AA batteries. Therefore, they thought electrons always flowed out of the bottom of the battery back to the top.”
Ms. Sneed laughed. “Yeah, I cringed when I looked over their responses. They had no clue about different batteries.”
“In addition, this site shows kids how to draw diagrams of circuits.”
“Definitely a keeper,” said Ms. Sneed. She copied the URL and pasted it onto their classroom website.
“What about electrons?” asked Mr. Frank.
“Yes, they need more background information,” Ms. Sneed agreed.
Unfortunately, they had trouble finding what they wanted. “Why do all of these sites show the old atomic model?” Mr. Frank wondered. “They need some updating.”
Finally, they found a good one. Atoms Are Building Blocks from Chem4Kids showed electrons arranged in shells.
“Our unit doesn’t cover power companies or anything like that,” said Ms. Sneed. “What do you think?”
Mr. Frank nodded, so his teaching partner continued searching.
“What about this one?” He pointed to How Electricity Is Made and Delivered to Your Home from Alliant Energy. It explained the path energy took from the power station to kids’ homes.
“Simple and straightforward,” said Mr. Frank. “Add it to the list.”
“What’s this?” Ms. Sneed asked. She clicked on PhET Interactive Simulations from the University of Colorado Boulder. To her amazement, an entire page of online simulators popped up.
“Hey! Look at this!” she said to Mr. Frank. As she started fiddling with an interactive circuit kit, he pulled out his laptop and signed on too.
The two teachers became immersed in the simulations. “Hey, maybe it’s time to go home,” Mr. Frank suddenly said.
Ms. Sneed pulled her eyes away from her computer and looked at the clock. “Oops!” she said “I got carried away. The kids will love these.” She added three simulations to their list:
- Balloons and Static Electricity – Moveable pieces how how electrons are transferred from one object to another.
- John Travoltage – In this funny interactive, John Travolta picks up electrons with his shoe. Then he gets shocked!
- Circuit Construction Kit: DC – This online kit lets kids play with batteries and bulbs. First, they pull pieces onto the board. Then they connect them with wires.
“Wow, these electricity websites for kids really rock,” said Mr. Frank. “I’m so psyched for this unit!” Ms. Sneed nodded as that famous teacher smile spread across her face.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.