Resource 2: Safe ways to investigate electricity

Background information / subject knowledge for teacher

Two teachers discuss the dangers and safety of electricity with a science advisor and they explain why they are nervous about dealing with electricity in the classroom.

She assures them that the 1.5V batteries and light bulbs that we find in a simple torch are quite safe.

One teacher asks: ‘When is electricity dangerous?’ The specialist explains that the electricity supplied to homes is 220 volts, so it is hundreds of times more powerful than a battery. The high-tension wires that carry electricity across the country are thousands of times more powerful.

So the teachers realised that they could safely conduct electricity experiments in the classroom.

The specialist advised them to make sure that they warned the children of the true dangers of electricity, and she left them some examples of safety pamphlets that are available locally.

The two teachers decided they would also look in the local newspapers for articles about electricity-related accidents and get their pupils to discuss both the causes and the consequences of these tragedies.

Resource 1: A careful look at the torch bulb

Resource 3: Lighting a bulb – templates and discussion