Energy and electricity is a fun topic to teach in elementary school because there are many electricity activities you can do! Personally, I like to create engaging centers where my students can exercise their knowledge.
If you have always been unsure about centers, let me convince you! Centers can seem intimidating. Creating all the materials and keeping students on task – it seems daunting. But centers actually allow you to spiral in several skills through various activities. It challenges your students because they aren’t showing their knowledge through a range of activities and difficulty. Check out this blog post that shows you exactly how I plan for the Energy and Electricity unit!
Here are my favorite electricity activities for elementary.
My Favorite Electricity Activities: Reading Passage
This center might seem basic, but getting our students to learn information through reading is actually pretty challenging! Students really need to flex their main idea, comprehension, and note taking skills.
For this center, have students read an article about energy or electricity. They should underline important information as they read. I recommend some type of graphic organizer or paper that asks students to document a few things they learned from the article.
Write About It
One of the best ways for students to challenge their thinking is through writing. Using the topics you have been reviewing in class for energy and electricity, have students write. Here are a couple of prompt ideas.
Give an example of sound energy. Explain sound energy in your own words.
Compare and contrast: How are mechanical energy and electric energy similar and different?
When students research, it puts students in charge of their own learning, and can be a great way for students to explore new information. Research teaches our students how to find reliable sources and synthesize information.
You can also capture students’ knowledge with a brochure. Send student fact searching about electricity and record what they find. This brochure is easy for students to use independently in stations.
There are tons of games and online resources that make setting up stations easy. Better yet, you can also collect data on your students’ knowledge of energy and electricity. I use Kahoot and Quizizz when I need a quick center activity to engage my students.
Google slides allows the activity to have more flexibility through the unit. I designed an energy Google Slide activity that my students always enjoy. This resource assesses students’ knowledge of Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy, and more through fill in the blank sides. It’s also self-checking! Check out the Google Slides here.
Watch and Respond
Lastly, have students watch a video related to energy and electricity. Videos are a great way to reinforce the concept and help students hear the information in a new way.
YouTube is filled with kid-friendly videos that you students can watch. To help guide students, create a graphic organizer they can use to capture the information they learn as they are watching the video.
Want energy and electricity centers, but don’t have time to prep? I’ve done the hard work for you! There are six different station center activities, plus an assessment. The centers are a mix of print and digital, so you can choose what works for your classroom. The centers include activities such as a reading passage, research, watch and respond, illustrate it, and more. Check out the energy and electricity centers here!