Lesson Focus

This lesson focuses on the basics of electricity and magnetism. It begins by outlining the work of some of the early experimenters and the sequence which eventually led to the realization of how a changeable electromagnetic field could be harnessed to other purposes. From there the lesson goes on to demonstrate how electric currents, magnetic fields and electrostatic fields are so closely related.  A series of simple hands-on activities are provided at the end of the lesson. The lesson ends with a section in which the students are invited to discuss with the teacher, various ways in which they think these demonstrations could be improved.


Full Lesson Plan

Age Levels:

8 – 18


Students will learn about:

  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Engineering history
  • problem solving
  • Common elements of electricity and electrical equipment;
  • How magnets are made and what they do;
  • Circuits, switches, conductors, resistors and batteries etc.;
  • What capacitors are made of and what they do;
  • The meaning of insulation and why it is necessary;
  • Some basic safety precautions; and
  • The importance of teamwork.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Engineering history
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities

It is suggested that the students assist the teacher in obtaining the simple materials – mostly short lengths of soft iron or steel bar.  One similar length of a non-magnetic material such as brass or aluminum would also be useful. A small quantity of iron filings (say a teaspoon full) would also be required. The students will be able to help the teacher to make these filings if necessary.

  • A simple experiment, using three LEDs, a capacitor and a 6 Volt lantern battery is also outlined at the end of this lesson.

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.

Downloadable Student Certificate of Completion