We started a new unit study this week on electricity. I’m still working out the details of what exactly we’re going to cover over the next couple of weeks. All I know is I want to end up with hydroelectricity so we can visit Niagara Falls as an endcap to the topic.
We started the week answering “what is electricity?” by reading The Magic School Bus And The Electric Field Trip by Joanna Cole. I’m sure I don’t have to explain what a Magic School Bus approach to a topic is. I will admit I like the books better than the show itself. The books seem to have more information in them, even if they’re hard to read out loud. I can never figure out where the speech bubbles fit in the story.
I brought a little history into the discussion with Who Really Discovered Electricity? by Amie Jane Leavitt. This book is a Fact Finders book that discusses Benjamin Franklin, Dr. William Gilbert, and Stephen Gray and their additions to the science of electricity.
Finally, I had Miss Adventure read Energy Island: How one community harnessed the wind and changed their world by Allan Drummond. This book details the efforts of a Danish island to become energy independent, with sidebars providing more details on energy and its sources and uses. It’s a picture book introduction to some of the problems associated with traditional sources of power and some of the renewable alternatives.
To play with electricity – safely – we’ve also been playing with our Snap Circuits set. We’ve had it for a while, but the kids really got into building some different circuits and testing out variations of the projects provided in the manual. If you’re thinking of buying a set (we definitely recommend it), go for the biggest one you can afford. You want as many pieces as possible.
And that’s what we’ve been doing this week!