Review: "A new and astonishing life of Benjamin Franklin as written by his good mouse, Amos, lately discovered, edited and illustrated by Robert Lawson." While introducing the amusing and argumentative mouse, Lawson stays close to the life of Benjamin franklin, who was an early investigator of electricity. Franklin's terrifying work on lightning rods is described accurately, but with Amos assisting. The famous kite experiment with lightning is also fully depicted, but with Amos aloft in the kite. This makes it a bit more confusing, although a good story. Many details are accurate, including Franklin taking shelter in a shed to keep himself dry and decreasing the likelihood of electrocution while flying the kite. Amos claims to provide many details that enhance Franklin's memory. While this is funny, it belittles Franklin's phenomenal recall of details.
Batteries & Bulbs is a classic unit for teaching students about electrical circuits. It first appeared as a unit in the Elementary Science Study (ESS) curriculum. This adaptation of the unit is closely aligned with the vision of science teaching espoused in the National Science Education Standards. You'll see that the unit responds to individual student experiences, focuses on student knowledge and its application, includes students being involved in extended inquiry, involves continual assessment of student understanding, and it's fun!
Circuit City is an interdisciplinary unit based on electricity concepts that has been very successful in my self-contained fourth grade classroom. We began the unit with basic circuit building and progressed to wiring a cardboard house. In between, the students worked on activities in language arts, math, writing, literature, and social studies.
The activity described here is an extension of Batteries and Bulbs that works very well for teachers and students who have already explored basic electrical circuits. In our district, we have used the activity with 4th graders after several lessons on batteries and bulbs.