Friday, December 13, 2013

How to Teach About Electricity for Ages 8-13 by Susan Kilbride {Review}



Susan Kilbride has some of my favorite science unit studies! The kids and I have done her plants study, her atoms and molecules study, and reviewed her book Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers . She recently gave me the opportunity to review How to Teach About Electricity for Ages 8-13.


Susan's unit studies are very well-organized and planned out. This electricity unit study is set up like all of her others. The beginning of the study has a "Materials Needed" page that lists each and every thing you will need to complete the unit study. Some of the materials are those you have on hand, and some are those that will need to be purchased.

I appreciated that Susan had a chapter on Safety. As the experiments involved electricity, she had specific dos and don'ts for how to perform the experiments.

Two of the chapters and experiments we covered were on Static Electricity and Electrical Currents.

The Static Electricity chapter contained three fun activities that were easy to complete. They involved, primarily, balloons, which are always a hit in our house. We learned about negatively charged electrons and positive charges.




The Electrical Currents chapter had four activities. These required a little more help from me as there were wires to cut and prepare and there were light bulbs and battery holders that had to be constructed before the experiments. We learned a lot about how electrons flow in a current and how we can manipulate electrons by making a loop for them to flow in make a current.




The other chapters in the unit study include Switches, More Circuits, Short Circuits, and Electricity and Magnetism

As always, we really enjoyed the unit study, the information we learned, and the varied activities.

I do believe that the unit study would be better suited for kids around the 12-14 age range, though. My two are 8 and 9 and the topic was a little advanced for them. We did follow the recommendation of completing the Atoms and Molecules unit study, and that did help. However, this was a study that required a lot of my help and additional explanation. It was just too complicated for their ages.

As my teaching philosophy is "if you can't read it, you can't learn it", I helped the kids out in the unit study by checking out a great Magic School Bus book called The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field Trip. It helped the kids visualize the entire process of electricity, so when we talked about the topics in the unit study they could better understand it at their learning level. My kids just appreciate a good picture book to help them see complicated topics.

I highly recommend How to Teach About Electricity for Ages 8-13 by Susan Kilbride. I might introduce the Atoms and Molecules study to a 10-12 year old child and then move onto the Electricity unit at ages 12-14.

You will be glad you used these studies as there is much to learn and the hands-on activities are fabulous. The Kindle version of How to Teach About Electricity for Ages 8-13 can be purchased on Amazon for $2.99. That is a bargain for the plethora of educational value you receive!


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