Skip to main content

Summer SAVY, Session 3 Day 5, Circuitry, Systems, and Design (3rd – 4th)

Posted by on Friday, June 28, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

What a de-LIGHT-ful week! Students began the day by independently completing an experimental design assessment where they designed an experiment to answer the question “Does a potato conduct electricity?” This is a question that came up on Monday, and one we have come back to throughout the week, so students were excited to get to plan how they would test this. After planning, students were excited to finally test their hypotheses. Potatoes DO conduct electricity! This is because they contain electrolytes that act as a salt bridge between the two conductors on either side. We were not able to successfully light up a lightbulb using a potato; however, it is possible! We watched a video of an experiment and discussed how we could execute it.   

Finally, students revisited their very first task of the week: “Make a thing that lights up!” This time, students needed to use two light bulbs, two batteries, and incorporate a switch. This challenge is different from the first because students had to incorporate their understanding of circuits, switches, and energy flow to have a successful product. Before construction, students planned and drew scaled diagrams of their creations and labeled them with the energy flow, source, conductors, and load. They also mapped out their circuit to serve as a “blueprint” for building it. Hopefully, you have seen these creatures made of cardboard, Play-Doh, googly eyes, feathers, lights, wires, and more!   

To continue conversations from this week, you can ask your student the following questions:  

  • Tell me about the parts of your make-a-thing system including elements, boundaries, inputs, outputs, and interactions.   
  • Tell me about the process of creating your make-a-thing including the planning, diagramming, building the circuit, and building the “thing.”  
  • How does the switch in your circuit work?  
  • What kind of circuit do you have? Series or parallel?  
  • What type of current is likely happening in your make-a-thing?  
  • What materials do we have that we could use to make our own circuits?  

This week, we used a resource called Electricity City: Creating a City’s Electrical System. It has so many great tasks, thinking activities, and questions. The main goal of this resource is to have students think about powering a model city. It introduces problems that students must create and execute solutions for. We had such a busy week of learning and were not able to get to everything within the book. This is a great place for your student to continue implementing everything they learned this week, as well as continue and extend their learning. Your student also has a folder with them that contains some notes and other projects from the week. We sent home some extra copper tape and LED light bulbs in case they want to teach you how to make a simple circuit!  

We had such a wonderful week learning with your student!  


Ms. Green and Ms. Molly