Electricity is a form of energy, a result of the existence of electrical charge. Its theory and inseparable effect is probably the most accurate and complete of all scientific theories. Because of it, invention of motors, generators, telephones, radio and television, medical gadgets, computers and nuclear-energy systems have taken place.
However, the many terms and definitions of electricity make it quite hard to pick up by students. So here’s an outline that can be used by anyone who might have a hard time lecturing about it.
What do a TV picture and lightning have in common? They are caused by tiny electrically charged particle called electrons. This flow or movement of electrons is what we call as electricity. Electrical charges cause television sets to work and telephones to ring.
What is static electricity? All matter is made of atoms and tiny particles held together by electric forces. Inside each atom are positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons. They are attracted to each other. A buildup of positive or negative charges is known as static electricity.
Example: When you brush your hair on a dry day, you may see sparks or hear a breaking sound. This happens because when you brush, many free electrons gather in your hair. Your brush does not have as many negative charges, so the charges from your hair get transferred to the brush.
What are conductors? They are what carry electric charges. Most conductors have many free electrons. A metal doorknob is an example of a conductor. Objects that generally do not conduct charges are called insulators.
During a thunderstorm in 1752, Benjamin Franklin flew a kite that had a metal tip connected to a silk string that acted as a conductor. A key was then attached to the string at a point near the ground. When Franklin touched the key it sparked and he could feel the electricity. Note that the next two who tried this extremely dangerous experiment were killed.
There is also a massive buildup of electrons in a cloud. You see lightning when the electrons are finally discharged or released to the ground.
Where does electrical energy come from? When you plug in an electric fan, you are not really using electricity. Instead you are using electric power. The source of this power is a generator. Large generators supply huge quantities of electric power to your community.
When teaching, your goals must be straight forward. Create an outline if you have to. It gives you a general flow of what you want to teach and allows you to check for loopholes and problems along the way. To prevent misunderstandings, ask lots of questions. As teachers, your role is to ensure you are effectively feeding the right information to your students.
About the Author: Brian Stocker is a former teacher and writer. He has written widely on Education and the Internet. Visit his newest site Elementary Science Lessons for information, games and lesson plans for Elementary Science Teachers, including electricity lesson plans.