Learning objectives

This unit builds on children’s previous practical experience of making circuits and extends their understanding of circuits, conductors and insulators and the need for a complete circuit in order for a device to work. Children are introduced to ways in which they can vary the current in a circuit. Investigative work focuses on   using ideas about circuits to construct circuits and investigate how they work and using results to draw conclusions. Work in this unit also offers opportunities for children to relate their knowledge about electricity to everyday contexts and to recognise and take action to avoid hazards and risks to themselves.

Specifically, tasks within the unit encourage children to:

  • make and test predictions about circuits that will work

  • say whether the evidence supports the predictions

  • explain what happened, drawing on their knowledge of circuits

  • see how a switch can be used to make or break a circuit to turn things on or off (using both batteries or mains)

  • make predictions about the effect of including additional batteries and bulbs in a series circuit

  • make predictions about the effect of including additional bulbs in a parallel circuit

  • apply their knowledge to make a traffic light circuit

  • take care when components in a circuit are changed to ensure bulbs/motors do not burn out

  • change the brightness of bulbs in a circuit

  • link electricity and magnetism by an activity on making an electromagnet

  • develop energy concepts and apply to domestic situations

  • extend knowledge of materials to include semiconductors

  • become aware of Irish contributions to electricity and energy research, both past and present.

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