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.

Here is one example they found:

Eight feared electrocuted in Imo

from Charles Ogugbuaja, Owerri

About eight persons are feared dead in a massive electrocution that occurred yesterday in Orji, near Owerri, the Imo State capital.

According to an eyewitness, the accident happened when a small truck carrying a metal kiosk suddenly ran into a high-tension wire. When the kiosk touched the high-tension wire, the many men in the vehicle were electrocuted.

One of them, who was thrown out of the vehicle by the electrocution, died instantly. It is believed that the other men died while receiving treatment.

The public affairs manager of the Power Holding Company Nigeria (PHCN), Owerri district, Mr Osita Ugwuafor, confirmed to The Guardian yesterday that though he was unable to visit the hospital to check the story, he had heard about the deaths of two victims.

‘We are yet to get full details, but [an] unconfirmed source told us that two died earlier. I don't know the state of others because the authorities were yet to allow people to see them,’ he said.

Adapted from: The Guardian, (Accessed 19/06/07)

Resource 1: A careful look at the torch bulb

Resource 3: Lighting a bulb – templates and discussion