• Field Trip

    More than 250 interactive science, technology, energy and health exhibits await students of all ages.  We’re experts at making sure that bringing your group to the Museum is smooth sailing all the way. Discounted admission for groups of 20 or more!

  • ScienceWorks

    Your students become scientists during our ScienceWorks Labs. All programs align with National Science Education Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and Common Core State Standards. Labs are available year-round for preschool to middle school students.

  • Outreach

    It's Science on Wheels: We bring the Museum to you!  We offer fun, inquiry-based programs for the students in your classroom, library, festival or youth center! All programs address objectives outlined in the Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and include pre- and post-visit activities.

  • Distance Learning

    Our educators use videoconferencing to engage your students in a dynamic, hands-on learning experience. Program kits sent to classroom teachers include nearly everything you need for experiments. Kits are yours to keep! All programs address National Science Education Standards and align with Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations.

  • Professional Development

    Join us for fast-paced, hands-on teacher workshops that provide elementary and middle school educators with new hands-on tools for incorporating interactive science and math activities into your classroom.  Join us for professional development opportunities both at the museum and at your school.

  • Scout Camp-Ins

    Stay overnight with us as we dive deep into science experiments! These events are designed especially for our Scout audience. 

  • Summer Camp

    Explore week-long science and math activities in conjuntion with Ann Arbor Rec&Ed and other local organizations.  Elementary and middle school children can investigate a different theme each week through hands-on and engaging fun.

  • Birthday Parties

    What do you get when you mix one part science, one part fun, and one part celebration? A birthday party at the Museum! Experience a birthday full of discovery by exploring more than 250 exhibits and experimenting with a hands-on activity. Celebrate in a unique and interactive environment to make your special day really special!

  • Evening Workshops

    Want to dive deeply into specific topics? Join us for an Evening Workshop! Explore a variety of science concepts through hands-on activities, interactive demos, and experiments in a small group setting. Topics vary from stop-motion animation to computer programming to engineering – there’s sure to be something that piques your interest!

Back to Programs

Standard Lab: Circuit Masters (4th-5th)

Students will be “wired” after this electrifying introduction to circuits. Explore the two types of circuits and the parts that make them work. Build a burglar alarm and more with our safe, interlocking electronic components. Register today!

Cost: $3 per student

Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations, Science v.1.09

  • Identify heat and electricity as forms of energy. (P.EN.04.12)
  • Demonstrate how electrical energy is transferred and changed through the use of a simple circuit. (P.EN.04.51)
  • Identify objects that are good conductors or poor conductors of heat and electricity. (P.PM.04.53)

Next Generation Science Standards

Students participating in this program will explore science content as stated in the Disciplinary Core Ideas. They will engage in science and engineering practices as they plan and conduct investigations to answer questions regarding electricity and circuits.

PS2.B: Types of Interactions

  • Electric, and magnetic forces between a pair of objects do not require that the objects be in contact. The sizes of the forces in each situation depend on the properties of the objects and their distances apart and, for forces between two magnets, on their orientation relative to each other

PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer

  • Energy can also be transferred from place to place by electric currents, which can then be used locally to produce motion, sound, heat, or light. The currents may have been produced to begin with by transforming the energy of motion into electrical energy.

Circuit Masters Pre-Visit Information

During Your Visit to the ScienceWorks Lab students will be expected to:

  • Sit in tables of 6 students and (at least) 1 adult
  • Students should be prepared to give their attention to the Lab instructors when requested to “Give Me Five”
  • Work cooperatively with one another at the table
  • Follow the hands-on procedures just as the Lab teacher or assistant explains them
  • Handle materials and equipment carefully

It is important that teachers and chaperones:

  • Help to focus the students’ attention
  • Assist students with the hands-on activities and experiments when necessary
  • Turn off cell phones and pagers during the class

Vocabulary

Capacitor: A capacitor is a device used to store electrical energy.

Circuit: A circuit is a path that electricity flows along. A circuit might contain many electrical components or just a few. Electricity can flow only if the parts of the circuit are connected in a continuous loop to the power supply. If a break is made in the circuit, the electricity stops flowing.

Conductor: A conductor is a material that allows electric current to flow through it easily. Conductors carry electricity from one part of a circuit to another. Copper wire is one example.

Current: Current is the flow of electricity through a circuit.

Electricity: Electricity is one of the basic forms of energy in our world. Electricity is caused by the interaction of positively and negatively charged particles called protons and electrons.

Electron: An electron is a tiny particle that carries a negative electric charge. Electrons, along with neutrons and protons, make up atoms.

LED (light emitting diode): A LED is a device that conducts electricity in one direction only. LEDs are often used in electronic devices because they use much less electricity than light bulbs.

Load: A load is the part of the electric circuit that uses the electric power. In a lighting circuit, for instance, the load is the light bulb. Another term for load is output device.

Parallel Circuit: A parallel circuit is a circuit that contains at least two paths for electrical current to flow on. Parallel circuits can contain more than one switch as well.

Proton: A proton is a tiny particle that carries a positive charge.

Resistor: A resistor is any material that cuts down on the flow of electricity through a circuit.

Series Circuit: A series circuit is a circuit that has only one path for the electrical current.

Switch: A switch controls the flow of electric current in a circuit. When the switch is off, the circuit is broken and the current flow stops.

Voltage: Voltage is the electrical push or pressure that makes electrical charge flow through a circuit.

Circuit Masters Post-visit Activity: Conductor Detector

Post-visit activities will help reiterate new concepts and tie the ScienceWorks Lab experience to your classroom curriculum. Below you will find a classroom activity and a list of suggested resources for further information. We hope that you enjoyed your field trip. Visit us again!

Introduction

A conductor is a material that allows electricity to flow through it. An insulator is something that does not allow electricity to flow through it. The material that links one part of a circuit to another (such as a light bulb to a battery) must be a conductor in order to complete the circuit and make it work. What kinds of materials are conductors? What kinds of materials are insulators?

Materials

The following materials are readily available at hardware, electronic and hobby stores. Amounts listed are for individual students. Multiply as necessary for small groups or an entire class.

  • 1.5V battery
  • Bulb and bulb holder (always use a bulb that is the same number of volts, or more volts, than your battery)
  • Plastic coated wire (single core)
  • Wire cutters (wire strippers are even better)
  • Small screwdriver
  • Tape (electrical tape is great, but Scotch tape works too)
  • Assorted conductors & non-conductors (paperclips, rubber bands, marbles, aluminum foil, paper, string, etc.)

Procedure

  1. Cut 3 pieces of wire into the following lengths: 2 pieces that are 5 inches long; 1 piece that is 3 inches long
  2. Strip the last ½ inch of plastic off the end of each wire so that only the inner metal wire is left. To do this, use the wire strippers or clamp the wire cutters down gently ½ inch from the end, just until they start to cut into the plastic. Pull the wire cutters one direction and the rest of the wire the other way so that ½ inch of plastic coating slides off.
  3. Loosen the screws on the bulb holder. Wrap one end of a 5 inch wire around one screw and one end of the 3 inch wire around the another screw. Tighten the screws back down. Screw the bulb into the holder.
  4. Securely tape the other end of the 5 inch wire that’s attached to your light bulb tightly to one end of your battery. Make sure it touches the terminal of the battery (the bump on the (+) end or the depression on the (-) end).
  5. Tape one end of the other 5 inch wire to the other terminal of the battery. If you stretched your circuit out in a straight line, it should be in the following order: 3 inch wire, bulb and bulb holder, 5 inch wire, battery, 5 inch wire.
  6. Touch the 2 free ends of your circuit together. If all of your connections are tight, the bulb should light.
  7. To test for conductors, touch the material to be tested — such as a paperclip — with the free ends of your circuit. If the material conducts electricity, the bulb will light.

Suggested Resources

Books
Baker, Wendy and Andrew Haslam. Make it Work! Electricity. Two-Can Publishing Ltd., Ocala, FL. 1992.
Glover, David. Batteries, Bulbs and Wires. Kingfisher Books, New York. 1993.
Hixson, B.K. Edison, Etc. The Wild Goose Co., Salt Lake City, UT. 1994.
Science Made Simple Grades 1-6. Frank Schaffer Productions, CA. 1997.
Tolman, Marvin N. Hands-On Physical Science Activities for Grades 2-8. Parker Publishing Company, Inc., NY. 1995.
Wood, Robert W. Electricity and Magnetism FUNdamentals: Funtastic Science Activities for Kids. Learning Triangle Press, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 1997.

Internet
Reeko’s Mad Scientist Lab
Hands-On Technology Program
Electricity and Magnetism
The Franklin Institute: Our Electric Future
Community Learning Network

Standard Lab: Circuit Masters (4th-5th)

ScienceWorks

School, Scouts

50 minutes

3-5th

20, 30, 60, 100

Engineering, Physical Sciences