Unit 4 -- Characteristics of Electricity (SNC 1D)

Unit 4 -- Characteristics of Electricity Science, Grade 9, Academic (SNC1D)




1. Introduction to unit

Introduce the unit as the science course physics unit, and give a short note which explains the various topics in the unit. Motivate this section by using the Big Scientific Questions information sheet for this unit. Emphasize that this unit is all about the atom's electrons that we discovered in the previous unit.

Big Scientific Questions information sheet

2. Law of electric charges

a. Insulators and conductors

Introduce these concepts using a note-taking sheet, providing examples of insulators and conductors.

Charges, Insulators, and Conductors note-taking sheet; list of conductors/insulators from SciencePower 9 p. 308

b. Law of electric charges

Provide an information sheet on which students take notes about the attraction and repulsion of objects with electric charges. Also, the movement of negative charges or "lightning" when the charged objects themselves cannot move.

SciencePower 9 BLM 9-8

c. Lightning

Students complete a worksheet on lightning, which illustrates the movement of charge between clouds and earth which have different overall charges.

Lightning: Moving Electric Charges worksheet; based on reading in SciencePower 9 p. 313-315

3. Static Electricity

a. What does it look like?

Using a balloon and a selection of very light metal and non-metal objects demonstrate various properties of static electricity (balloon sticks to wall, balloon is insulator, balloon induces charge in insulated non-metals causing attraction but does not do this in conductive metals)

Lab List 4-1

b. Why does it work?

Use a note-taking sheet which introduces four aspects of static electricity (needs an insulator, conductors cannot have it, negative charges will move when there is a difference, a charge can be induced). Use the balloon examples to reinforce these points.

Static Electricity worksheet

c. Working with static electricity

Students follow a lab instruction sheet in which they charge a plastic comb by rubbing it with flannel and attempt to cause static attraction with a variety of objects. A table is also provided in which students list a series of small objects they will test with their comb, make a prediction, and list their results.

Lab List 4-2; Experimenting with Static Electricity from Forms of Energy Science Workshop Series, p. 116-117

4. Significant digits, scientific notation, and metric conversions

Begin by reviewing metric conversions, and provide students with a list of conversions to do to warm-up. Provide students with a worksheet and instructional input for completing a worksheet on significant digits and scientific notation.

Significant Digits and Scientific Notation worksheet

5. Measuring electricity

a. Introduction to electrical quantities

b. Current and charge

c. Potential difference

d. Power

e. Resistance

Provide students with a table which includes a list of all the electrical quantities that will be studied in this unit (charge, current, potential difference, power, energy, resistance, and time). For each quantity the table provides room for the symbol, unit, measuring device, description, diagram using the water analogy of electricity, and formulas for obtaining the quantity. This table will be completed throughout the remainder of the unit.

Complete the Measuring Electricity table for these quantities. Emphasize that charge is electrons, and current is the movement of the electrons past a certain point. Show an overhead of the meaning of current in terms of the human body.

Complete a problem worksheet involving current and charge. Take up answers.

Complete the Measuring Electricity table for this quantity. Emphasize that potential difference is the difference in energy between two places, or the potential to do work.

Complete a problem worksheet involving potential difference. Take up answers.

Complete the Measuring Electricity table for this quantity. Emphasize that power is the amount of energy used or work done in a certain amount of time.

Complete a problem worksheet involving potential difference. Take up answers.

Complete the Measuring Electricity table for this quantity. Emphasize that resistance is an obstruction to the flow of charge.

Complete a problem worksheet involving potential difference. Take up answers.

Measuring Electricity worksheet table

overhead of Electric Currents and Humans from SciencePower 9, BLM 10-5

Current & Charge Problems worksheet

Potential Difference Problems worksheet

Power Problems worksheet

Resistance Problems worksheet

6. Mixed electricity problems

Provide students with a worksheet package of problems requiring one, two, or three equations used sequentially to solve. Emphasize correct mathematical form (state quantities given, state unknowns, give formulae, show all steps, provide a written sentence answer demonstrating understanding of what was asked). Take up answers before submission.

Mixed Electricity Problems worksheet package; problems collected from various sources including SciencePower 9 BLM 10-9, 10-11, 10-14, 10-19, and 10-20

7. Mid-unit review & quiz

Oral review of unit so far.

Quiz emphasizing knowledge/understanding and inquiry


8. Introduction to circuits

a. What is a circuit?

Using a note-taking sheet with images of open and closed series circuits, illustrate that charges move from the negative end of the battery towards the positive end, and for a load (light bulb) to glow, there must be an uninterrupted chain of conductors.

What is a Circuit? note-taking sheet with images from Forms of Energy Science Workshop Series, p. 124-125

b. Making light bulbs glow

Students, working in pairs, are provided with a light bulb, a short length of wire, and a battery. Following the diagrams of a lab worksheet provided, they attempt a series of orientations of bulb, wire and battery. For each they must explain why the bulb does not function.

Lab List 4-3; lab worksheet based on SciencePower 9 BLM 10-1

9. Understanding circuits

a. Schematic diagrams

Take a graphic and text note of a schematic diagram of a series circuit with a cell, bulb, buzzer, switch, resistor, ammeter, and voltmeter attached. Label each part of the circuit.

Drawing Circuits worksheet

b. Series and parallel circuits

Add to the note the definition of a series circuit (charges have only one path to follow in the circuit). Draw another simple schematic illustrating this. Then add the definition of parallel circuit (charges have more than one path to follow in the circuit). Draw another simple schematic to illustrate this.

Given a table worksheet with columns for loads, series/parallel and schematic, complete the table given information in each row.

c. Circuit building

Given several series and parallel circuit scenarios on a lab worksheet, students build the circuits, and draw the schematic for the circuit they have built. They answer questions on each circuit, some of which require the use of an ammeter and voltmeter.

Lab List 4-4; Circuit Building lab worksheet

10. Resistance in circuits

a. Variable resistance

Recall the concept of resistance. Discuss the concepts of variable resistance, dimmer switches, and potentiometers. Build a simple circuit using a mechanical pencil lead as a variable resistor, and light bulb/buzzer as load discover the relationship between resistance and load.

Lab List 4-5; Variable Resistor lab worksheet

b. Resistors in series and parallel

Take a graphic and text note on the concept of a resistor, and how the position of a resistor in series and parallel causes a difference in the overall resistance of the circuit. This is the concept of equivalent resistance. Introduce the formulae and their use.

Complete a problem worksheet involving determining the resistance of circuits with loads in series and parallel. Take up answers.

Resistance in Series and Parallel Problems worksheet

c. Mixed problems with circuits

Complete a series of problems requiring students to draw schematics for circuits, given information, and calculate various quantities about those circuits (involving voltage, current, charge, power, and resistance). Take up answers.

Mixed Problems with Circuits worksheet; some problems from SciencePower 9 BLM-11-11, 11-12, 11-13, and 11-22

11. Power generation

a. Power at home

Arrange a field trip to a local power generating station. Students answer questions on the type of power generation involved, the original source of energy, transmission of the power to your home, and environmental concerns they notice.

Power Generation Field Trip Questions worksheet

b. Types of power generation in Canada

Complete a worksheet based reading assignment from the textbook, which asks students to organize diagrams and information about power generation, and answer questions. Alternative methods are also considered.

Power Generation Reading Assignment worksheet; based on SciencePower 9, p. 395-414

12. Unit review & test

Unit review package with appropriate summarizing and thinking questions.

Unit test emphasizing knowledge/understanding, making connections, and inquiry.

Unit 4 Review worksheet package

Unit 4 Test

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