The scientific principles we’re going to cover were first discovered by a host of scientists in the 19th century, each working on the ideas from each other, most prominently James Maxwell and Michael Faraday.
This is one of the most exciting areas of science, because it includes one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time: how electricity and magnetism are connected. Before this discovery, people thought of electricity and magnetism as two separate things. When scientists realized that not only were they linked together, but that one causes the other, the field of physics really took off.
Here are the scientific concepts:
- The proton has a positive charge, the neutron has no charge, and the electron has a negative charge. These charges repel and attract one another kind of like magnets repel or attract. Like charges repel (push away) one another and unlike charges attract one another. Generally things are neutrally charged. They aren’t very positive or negative, rather have a balance of both.
- Objects that are electrically charged can create a temporary charge on another object.
- The triboelectric series is a list that ranks different materials according to how they lose or gain electrons.
- When electric current passes through a material, it does it by electrical conduction.
- Metals are conductors not because electricity passes through them, but because they contain electrons that can move.
- There are different kinds of conduction, such as metallic conduction, where electrons flow through a conductor (like metal) and electrolysis, where charged atoms (called ions) flow through liquids.
By the end of the labs in this unit, students will be able to:
- Design and build simple series and parallel circuits by using components such as wires, batteries, and bulbs.
- Know how to demonstrate that electrically charged objects attract or repel each other.
- Know electrical energy can be converted to heat, light, and motion.
- Differentiate observation from inference (interpretation) and know scientists’ explanations come partly from what they observe and partly from how they interpret their observations.
- Measure and estimate the weight, length, or volume of objects.
- Formulate and justify predictions based on cause-and-effect relationships.
- Conduct multiple trials to test a prediction and draw conclusions about the relationships between predictions and results.
- Construct and interpret graphs from measurements.
- Follow a set of written instructions for a scientific investigation.