Electricity UnitElectricity 4

Teacher of the Lesson: Kelly Pelak
Grade Level: 5
Estimated Time: 35 minutes





  1. Begin the lesson by explaining that there are many people that played an important role in the history of electricity. Choose a couple names from the list and give a brief explanation of their contributions to electricity.
  2. Explain that the class will be involved in creating a timeline of the most important dates and events involved in the history of electricity. Each member of the class will be responsible for researching one of these scientists and reporting back to the group about what he/she contributed to the development of electricity and when. Each student will write a brief summary of their contributions (4-5 sentences) and design and illustrate a piece of poster board for the timeline. It is important, in their research, to find the exact year that the discovery or contribution was made and cut out that date in large black numbers for the timeline.
  3. Model a poster for Ben Franklin and read a summary of his contributions to electricity. It is highly important that this model corresponds with the expectations established for the class.

Sequence of Instruction

  1. Give the students time in class to work on their research. Encourage them to use the school library or to use the references provided to them by the teacher. Their textbook may also serve as an important resource.
  2. Remind students that correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are expected. In addition, remind students to summarize rather than copy the factual information from a text for their reports.

Creativity is also important! Their posters should be carefully designed and clearly demonstrate the person or achievements that they are adding to the timeline.


  1. Provide time again in class for students to work on their posters. When their work has been revised and checked for accuracy by the teacher, they may share information about their scientist with the rest of the class and add the poster to the timeline on the wall.
  2. When the timeline is complete, students will be able to refer back to it and visualize the number of scientists who contributed to the history of electricity and the amount of time it took to get to where we are today.
  3. In addition, ask students to look at the group of scientists as a whole. Which groups of people in society are not represented in this display? Why might that be?


  1. Were students able to recall information about significant people in the history and development of electricity during classroom discussions?
  2. Were students able to summarize rather than copy factual information about their scientist or inventor from their resources? Was the report written in their own words? Did they use proper spelling punctuation, and grammar in their reports?
  3. Were students able to highlight the main points and significant information on their posters? Was the information accurate and grammatically correct? Did the students provide an illustration of either the scientist or the contribution on their posters?
  4. Given the dates, students were able to put their posters in order on an "Electricity Timeline" around the room.


  1. Have the students work together in pairs on a single report.
  2. Have the students analyze and research why every scientist or inventor on the list is a man. What might this say about women during this time period? Which cultures are not represented in this list? What might that say about textbooks?


  1. How did the lesson go?
  2. Did the students enjoy the task?
  3. Was the model helpful?
  4. How well did they use the resources provided to them ?

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