General Science and Electronics    


This page is for general science materials, so far it's just one item. For astronomy and astrobiology related educational materials, see all of the 4th grade Project Astro work here.



Basic electricity, series and parallel circuits



This was something I created when my kids were learning basic electricity in the 4th grade. It's a low cost way to let them easily experiment with hooking up light bulbs in series and parallel. There are plenty of resources on the 'net for this type of stuff, but hey, one more idea never hurt anything.

The board uses 4 batteries and 6V light bulbs so the effect of series and parallel circuits can be explored. At a higher grade level meters could be used to measure voltages and currents; at the level presented here only basic qualitative observations are made. I've called it the bat-light board (as in battery and lights on a board).

It is designed to be simple so that the kids aren't overwhelmed - they are happy just to light a light bulb with a battery. It includes a switch so things aren't left on by mistake. The only thing to watch for is shorting the batteries, not only would it quickly kill them but with the thin wire in the alligator clip leads they might actually get hot.

Instead let them short out dead batteries before doing these experiments so they get it out of their system.

Follow this link for directions on building the bat-light board. Only the batteries, light bulbs, sockets, and alligator clips are bought, the rest was done with scrounged materials. But even if you had to buy everything it would still cost less than $15 to make.

The first set of experiments are simple parallel and series circuits.

Series-parallel experiments - explaining them would require some math and knowledge of electrical properties, but they're still interesting to try.