Even though your students use electricity every day and would not want to be without it for a single day, they probably haven’t yet given much thought to its importance as an energy source. According to the National Standards for Science Education, middle schoolers should be building on their K-4 experiences with electricity and becoming familiar with the idea that most change involves energy transfer. The following resources will answer such questions as what is electricity, where does it come from, and how is it distributed?
This reading, part of a series about the future of energy, introduces students to the need for and uses of electricity. Here students find information on the generation of electrical power and the infrastructure needed to transmit and distribute it. Thought-provoking questions afford students chances to reflect on what they’ve read. Web links to energy-related articles from PBS NewsHour Online are provided, along with a link to information on the benefits of small-scale wind projects.
This reading, another part of a series about the future of energy, introduces students to the production of electricity using a generator. Students read about the movement of electrons called current electricity. Static electricity is also discussed. Students follow as the generation of electric current is described using magnets in a generator.
How Do You Get Electricity From a Cow?
Students are given a clue before they select their answer to this riddle. In the text and video clip for the clue, two children tell about their unsuccessful attempt to use a pet cow to spin the metal coil in a generator. Students are given three answer choices. Brief feedback is given for the incorrect choices. When students select the correct answer, they can watch a short video clip of a farmer explaining how his farm generates more power than it needs by making use of the methane gas released from decomposing manure.
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