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Lesson Plans

How Does Electricity Work?

Whether you are new to learning about electricity, or just need a quick reminder about the basics, this link can hopefully help clarify how electricity takes charge!

Why DC? (Direct Current) Lesson Plans:

We have been working to develop a set of lesson plans that will examine DC (direct current) and will provide students with opportunities to learn and explore through both hands-on learning and research experiences.  The lessons are designed with the purpose of focusing on students from grades 5 – 12, with the opportunity for the instructor to increase the difficulty of the lessons based on the level of experience in the class.   

In the Lesson Plans and Research folders section below, you will find links to these lesson plans.  The three folders you will find include: (1) Lesson Plans, (2) Primary Resources and (3) Secondary Resources.

Please note the following about the folders:  

  • In the Lesson Plan folder, lessons 1-8 are designed for an informal audience, meant to be informative and enjoyable with provisions for accommodating students’ interests and motivation. All that is generally expected of the student in these lesson plans is to participate as instructed. It is recognized that, although many of the lessons are sequential in nature, if you use these lessons as a part of a voluntary workshop, some students may attend a limited number of times. The intent, therefore, is to accommodate their circumstances as much as possible.
  • Also in the Lesson Plan folder, DC HEART PRSEF RESEARCH (Lessons 9-12) is intended to meet all the rigor of scientific research, follow all PRSEF (Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair) guidelines, and result in a “PRSEF-ready” project.  If working in the Pittsburgh, PA vicinity, you might want to consider centering the project around some aspect of the Off-Grid DC-Laboratory located at 7280 Fleury Way, Pittsburgh, 15208 since it would provide a good opportunity for a hands-on learning experience.
  • Some lessons include separate handouts located in the Primary Resources folder that may be printed and modified for different circumstances.
  • Other files that may be helpful are found in the Secondary Resources folder and include Energy Consumption Infobooks for Middle and Secondary students and Solar Energy Infobooks for Secondary students.
  • The Primary Resources folder includes a spreadsheet ( WDC_Materials_Supplies.xlsx) that is an enumerated list of items that are necessary for these lessons, as well as OPTIONAL/ALTERNATE items.  The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but does include all significant items needed for the course.  Similar equipment may be available from other companies.  All listed prices are subject to change by the suppliers.


  • In the Primary Resources folder, we have included a document (WDC_Standards_Summary) that contains information about the standards related to these lessons.
  • Completion of a single lesson or topic is not expected to fulfill any one standard, but rather serve as part of a body of work aimed at achieving that goal. The purpose of the summary is to show how the lessons conform to the standards.
  • The primary standards used were New Generation Science Standards (NGSS)  NGSS define the disciplinary core ideas that focus K–12 science curriculum, instruction and assessments on the most important aspects of science disciplinary content knowledge.
  • The NGSS site allows searching by Keyword, Practice, Grade, Crosscutting Concept, and Disciplinary Core Idea, which is very helpful in modifying and adapting lessons to the standards.
  • Another excellent guide to aligning curriculum to NGSS is provided by the National Academies site:



Listed here are resources to promote writing in science classrooms:


  • AC: alternating current
  • DC: direct current
  • CB: circuit board
  • CP: Circuit Playground
  • ISEF: International Science and Engineering Fair
  • LP: lesson plan
  • NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards
  • PRSEF: Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair
  • WDC: Why DC?
Lesson Plans and Resource Folders

In the links below, you will find access to folders that include lesson plans, as well as primary and secondary resources.  

(1) Lesson Plans

(2) Primary Resources

(3) Secondary Resources

PLEASE NOTE: For security purposes, the documents in these folders are almost exclusively PDF files.  If you would like to request the documents in a different format, please contact Kristy Bronder at