The Topic:
Electricity

If you are searching for biographies of scientists or inventors who worked with electricity, you may want to go to our companion webpage: Scientists / Inventors in Electricity. There you will find an alphabetized index to biographies of select people.
 
Easier - Electricity is a form of energy produced by the movement of electrons. Electricity is electrical power or an electric current. This form of energy can be sent through wires in a flow of tiny particles. It is used to produce light and heat and to run motors.
 
Harder - Electricity is a basic feature of all matter, of everything in the universe. Electrical force holds atoms and molecules together. Electricity determines the structure of every object that exists. Together with magnetism, it causes a force called electromagnetism, a fundamental force of the universe.
 
Electricity or electrical signals are essential to many biological processes. In our bodies, electrical signals are carried through the nervous system, moving information to and from the brain. Electrical signals communicate to our brain what the eyes see, what the ears hear, and what the fingers feel. Electrical signals from our brain causes our muscle movements. Electrical signals cause each heartbeat.
 
One of the most important forms of electricity is in electrical current. During the industrial revolution of the 1800s, people began to find ways to use electricity to do work. Today electricity is used throughout our homes, at work, in communication, in transportation, and in medicine and science. Electrically powered devices are prevalent. Relatively cheap electricity has made electrical appliances, machines, and other devices possible.
 
Electricity at Brain Pop
http://www.brainpop.com/science/electricity/electricity/index.weml
Learn about electricity on this fun site by watching a movie, taking a quiz, trying out an experiment, and lots more!
Similar Websites for Kids:
2) Electric Universe from CIPCO http://cipco.electricuniverse.com/
3) Power Biz 101 from Southern Company
http://www.southernco.com/learningpower/powerbiz.asp?mnuOpco=&mnuType=sub&menuItem=
 
Electricity and Magnetism at IPPEX Interactive
http://ippex.pppl.gov/ippex/module_4/
Here you learn the basic concepts behind these two topics. This site has a great online instruction module; requires download of Shockwave plugin (Software link provided at site).
Related Websites:
2) AC/DC: What's the Difference? from PBS
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/edison/sfeature/acdc.html
3) Electricity and Magnetism! from Interactive Plasma Physics Education Experience http://ippex.pppl.gov/interactive/electricity/ (Requires Shockwave)
4) Electricity Transmission System (Chapter 11) from The Energy Story
http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/story/story-html/chapter11.html
5) Generators, Turbines and Power Plants (Chapter 3) from The Energy Story
http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/story/story-html/chapter03.html
6) Introduction To Electricity by C. Buckley, North Wales, UK
http://www.newi.ac.uk/buckleyc/electric.htm
7) Introduction to Electricity by J.T. Blair
http://www.team.net/www/morgan/tech/art016.html
8) Understanding Electricity - An Analogy with Water from 4QD-TEC
http://www.4qdtec.com/water.html
9) What is Electricity? (Chapter 2) from the The Energy Story
http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/story/story-html/chapter02.html
10) What's Electricity from Jake's Attic
http://school.discovery.com/sciencefaircentral/jakesattic/lab/electricity.html
11) Where Does Electricity Come From? from Environmental Defense
http://www.environmentaldefense.org/programs/Energy/green_power/d_sources.html
 
How Power Distribution Grids Work by M. Brain at How Stuff Works
http://www.howstuffworks.com/power.htm
Power travels from the power plant to your house through an amazing system called the power distribution grid.
Other Related Electrical Articles from How Stuff Works:
2) How Batteries Work? by M. Brain http://www.howstuffworks.com/battery.htm
3) How California's Power Crisis Works by K. Bonsor
http://www.howstuffworks.com/california-power.htm
4) How Does A Halogen Light Bulb Work?
http://www.howstuffworks.com/question151.htm
5) How Electric Motors Work? by M. Brain
http://www.howstuffworks.com/motor.htm
6) How Emergency Power Systems Work by M. Brain
http://www.howstuffworks.com/emergency-power.htm
7) How Hydropower Plants Work by K. Bonsor
http://www.howstuffworks.com/hydropower-plant.htm
8) How Lightning Works? by J. Zavisa http://www.howstuffworks.com/lightning.htm
9) How Many Solar Cells Would I Need in Order to Provide All of the Electricity . .? http://www.howstuffworks.com/question418.htm
10) How Much Coal Is Required To Run A 100-Watt Light Bulb . . . ?
http://www.howstuffworks.com/question481.htm
11) How Nuclear Power Works by M. Brain
http://www.howstuffworks.com/nuclear-power.htm
12) How Semiconductors Work by M. Brain
http://www.howstuffworks.com/diode.htm
13) How Solar Cells Work by S. Aldous
http://www.howstuffworks.com/solar-cell.htm
14) How Wires, Fuses and Connectors Work? (Automotive Perspective) by K. Nice
http://www.howstuffworks.com/wfc.htm
15) What Are Amps, Watts, Volts, and Ohms?
http://www.howstuffworks.com/question501.htm
16) Why Is It that Some Appliances Have A 3-Prong Outlet While Others . . . ? http://www.howstuffworks.com/question110.htm
 
What Is Static Electricity? at Science Made Easy
http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/static.html
Here is an easy to read description of the phenomenon, plus fun projects you can do at home.
Related Websites:
2) Finding Static Electricity by R.Kurtus (6 Online Lessons)
http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/static.htm
3) 'Static Electricity' Page (Links-site)
http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/emotor/statelec.html
4) What Is Static Electricity/Electrostatic Discharge? http://wwwp.exis.net/~bower/static/aboutstatic.html
5) Uses of Static Electricity by R. Kurtus
http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/staticuse.htm
 
After visiting several of the electricity websites; complete some of the activities here. Be an electricity explorer!
 
Learn How To Be Safe Around Electricity. Younger learners may want to print out and use the Smarty Electric Safety Coloring Book. Go to the Virginia Power: For Kids site and print out the coloring book, while learning electri-facts and completing a safety checklist. Older learners may want to visit sites like Being Safe Around Electricity.
 
Create An Electron. Go to the Electric Force (Requires download of Java Applet) and follow the directions. See if you can create an electron that is not pulled into the proton; one that orbits and forms an atom model. Look at the line of force.
 
Learn About Electricity Thru Experiments. Beginners may want to start with some of the experiments and activities found at the following websites. Search to begin with ones at your experience level; work your way up to the more difficult ones:
1) Super Sparker from Exploratorium http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/sparker.html
2) Make Your Own Lightning
http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/projects/projects-html/lightning.html
3) Fruity Electricity at Atoms Family http://www.miamisci.org/af/sln/frankenstein/fruity.html
4) Battery Life http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/projects/projects-html/battery.html
5) You Can Make A Flashlight Shine Brighter? from Dirtmeister's Science Lab at Scholastic
http://teacher.scholastic.com/ilp/view.asp?SubjectID=4&SubheadID=10&TopicID=122&Gr
adeID=&PageURL=%2Fdirt%2Fcircuits%2Findex.htm
6) Stop and Go Electrons http://www.schoolnet.ca/general/club-electrique/e/page6.html
7) Snacks about Electricity from Exploratorium
http://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/iconelectricity.html
8) Build A Switch http://cipco.electricuniverse.com/html/eu/education/louie/sh/human/exp/latimerexp1.html
9) Fun Experiments To Do At Home http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/6064/exper.html
 
Learners with more experience might try their hand at some of the more difficult experiments at one or more of these collections:
10) Electric Club: Activities Handbook http://www.schoolnet.ca/general/club-electrique/e/
11) Electricity and Magnetism http://www.galaxy.net/~k12/electric/#exper
12) Experiments with Static Electricity
http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/experiments/expstatic.htm
 
Design and Test Circuits. First download the free software from Crocodile Clips Elementary. Then you can work through the tutorials to learn basic electrical circuitry . . . making circuits and using switches and batteries.
 
Create an Electrical Safety Poster. It's important to be safe around electricity. Create a poster highlighting the most important safety rules.
 
Find an Electricity Energizer. Learn about two people who made contributions to our understanding of electricity. How are their discoveries related or unrelated? Which person do you think made the most important contribution? Why? Nominate this person for a special "Electricity Energizers" award.
 
Complete An Electricity WebQuest. Follow or adapt the procedures found at one of the following webQuest sites to learn more about electricity:
1) Electric Energy by K. Waterman
http://www.nashua-plainfield.k12.ia.us/projects/karen/
2) Electric - Lightning by K. Bain, R. Steenhard, J. Buck and W. Pope
http://www.uni.edu/currtech/webquest/lightning.html
3) Electricity for Zoorians? To Be Or Not To Be? (Grade 3)
http://grove.northbrook27.k12.il.us/electricity/electricity.htm
4) Electricity Moves Me by P. Peal http://millard.esu3.org/willow/fourth/elecweb.htm
5) Electricity: The Shocking Truth by F. Comeras http://users.massed.net/~fcomeras/
6) Electricity: Simple Circuits by J. Simpson (Grade 4)
http://www.can-do.com/uci/lessons99/electricity.html
7) Electricity WebQuest (Grades 5 -9) by L. Jaskoski
http://volweb.utk.edu/Schools/sullivan/colonial/electricity.html
8) Electricity WebQuest: It's Shocking by S. Holthaus
http://www.fayette.k12.ky.us/instructtech/trt8/ComfortElectricity/default.htm
9) Static Electricity by A. Stepanek and B. Havermann http://www.uni.edu/currtech/webquest/electricity.html
10) WebQuest on Electricity (Grades 5-6) http://www.ncte.ie/pcoakley/index.html
11) When Lightning Strikes by A. Harold, J. Giesige, & E. Boyd (Grade 7)
http://www.otterbein.edu/dept/educ/sciquests/webquest1.htm
 
Website By Kids For Kids
Electricity (2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/J001647F/
Here you learn about electrical power plants, how to make a battery, and about the lives of people who experimented with electricity.
 
Electricity and Its Effects (1996 ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/2763/
This site is designed to inform you about the ways in which we create and use electricity, and to supply information on electricity itself.
 
Electricity and Magnetism from Fizzics Fizzle (Grades 6-8,1998 ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/16600/intermediate/electricity.shtml
Believe it or not, electricity and magnetism are related very closely. This site describes what electric charge and electricity are and how magnetic fields arise through the movement of electric charge. Also, did you know that light is created by electromagnetic waves? Click on the Next button to begin.
 
Electricity for All (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/6075/
Here you learn about how a specific type of energy gets turned into electrical energy for use by you, your family and friends.
 
Electricity Online (Grade 9-12, 1999 ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/28032/
Learn all about electricity, its applications, and its history. This awesome site features cool experiments, activities, and a historical timeline.
 
Electricity with the Sparks Scientists (2001 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112709/
The website teaches about electricity including the sources of electricity, the California crisis, the suppliers and sellers, and electrical safety. It also has the inventors and their inventions that had to do with electricity, what is it, and ways to save electricity.
 
Electromania (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5514/
This website explains how electricity works and what it is used for, plus who discovered and experimented with it.
 
Electronic Components (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5189/
After visiting this site, you should recognize electronic components and symbols, know what different electronic components do, have a basic understanding of volts, current, and resistance, and be aware of the proper safety precautions when working with electricity.
 
Electronics: An Online Guide for Beginners (1998 ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/16497/
This site teaches the basics, starting with how electrons in the atom make electricity. It is a step-by-step guide to electronics with practical activities where you can learn about current, voltage, and resistance.
 
Light Up Your Life With Electricity (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5516/
The project includes a history of electricity, how it is used to make our lives better, and plans for creating your own flashlight.
 
Magnificent World of Electricity (2000 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/J002796/
This site is all about electricity, how we use it, different kinds of circuits, how electricity can be dangerous, and some information on lightning.
 
Shocking Electricity (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.thinkquest.org/5217/
Here you can learn how electricity is produced. The site also includes safety tips,activities, and pictures of a power plant.
 
Shocking Truth About Electricity (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
http://tqjunior.advanced.org/6064/main.html
Have you ever wondered how much we depend on electricity? Where does electricity come from? What are those volts, amps and watts anyway?
 
Super Conductivity (1998 ThinkQuest Project)
http://library.thinkquest.org/20872/
This website introduces you to the history of superconductivity, a highly efficient use of electricity, and its theories and uses.
 
Lots More Electrifying Sites
Brief History of Electricity
http://www.the-education-site.com/electric/history.htm
Electricity has been around as long as the Earth itself. Electrical storms played a significant part in the creation of life on this planet but the difference it has made to our lives today has a much shorter history.
 
Electricity and Magnetism
http://theory.uwinnipeg.ca/mod_tech/node83.html
Created for College-level course, this online chapter discusses basic theory and phenomena associated with electricity and magnetism.
Similar Website:
2) Introduction To Electricity by C. Buckley
http://www.newi.ac.uk/buckleyc/electric.htm
  
Electrification
http://www.greatachievements.org/greatachievements/ga_1_1.html
Here you can learn how power came to our cities, factories, and homes. The website includes a timeline.
 
Electronics Circuits Reference Archive
http://www.4qdtec.com/index.html
Calling itself the 'Electronics Club,' this site has a wealth of information and resources.
 
Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home at U.S. Dept. of Energy
http://www.eren.doe.gov/consumerinfo/energy_savers/
By using a few inexpensive energy-efficient measures, most homeowners can reduce their energy bills by 10% to 50% and, at the same time, help reduce air pollution.
Related Websites:
2) Close the door!
http://cipco.electricuniverse.com/html/eu/education/louie/life/conserv/con1.html
3) Consumer Tips For Kids
http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/kidstips/index.html
4) Draft-O-Meter
http://cipco.electricuniverse.com/html/eu/education/louie/life/conserv/con2.html
5) Home Energy Survey from Irish Energy Centre
http://www.irish-energy.ie/HomeEnergySurvey/html/survey.html
6) Power Bandit
http://cipco.electricuniverse.com/html/eu/education/louie/life/conserv/bandit10.html
7) Saving Energy (Energy Conservation)
http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/savingenergy.html
8) Saving Energy and Energy Conservation (Chapter 15) from The Energy Story
http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/story/story-html/chapter15.html
9) Wasting Energy (Printable Worksheet)
http://www.irish-energy.ie/Smart_E/activities/worksheets/waste.htm
10) Why Are My Power Bills So High? What Appliances Use the Most Power?
from How Stuff Works http://www.howstuffworks.com/question272.htm
 
Finding Static Electricity by R.Kurtus (6 Online Lessons)
http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/static.htm
Have you ever experienced static electricity? Most people have felt sparks or have seen objects cling together because of static electricity. You may have some questions, such as how can you detect static electricity, how can you make or create static electricity, or can static electricity dangerous be to you?
Other Related Lessons from R. Kurtus:
2) Direct Current (DC) Electricity
http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/dc.htm
3) DC Circuits http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/dccircuits.htm
4) Electromagnetism
http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/electromagnetism.htm
5) Alternating Current (AC) Electricity
http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/ac.htm
6) Alternating Current (AC) Home Wiring
http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/acwiring.htm
7) AC Transformers
http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/actransformers.htm
8) Electric Power http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/electpower.htm
 
Lessons In Electric Circuits by By T.R. Kuphaldt
http://www.ibiblio.org/obp/electricCircuits/
Here is a free series of online texts on the subjects of electricity and electronics.
Related Websites:
2) DC Circuits and Components: Capacitors, Resistors, Batteries & Wires. Oh, My!
http://www.physics.gatech.edu/academics/Classes/2k_summer/2212/a/circuits.html
3) Electricity and Electronics: Teaching and Learning Resources
http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/trinity/elec2.html
4) Troubleshooting: Electrical Circuits (Automotive Perspective) from Delmar
Publishers http://www.autoweb.lycos.com/garage/subsys/bacircui.htm
 
Mortal Kontact from San Diego Gas & Electric
http://www.sdge.com/sdge.cgi?template=Arcade/er_f3.html&frame1=er_c1.html&fra
me2=er_h1.html&frame3=er_1.html&change=yes
Electricity is a very powerful and helpful tool, but like any form of energy you must treat it with respect. Here are some simple rules you should follow with electricity.
Related Websites:
2) Being Safe Around Electricity from Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Rushford,
MN http://www.tec-rec.com/kids/safety.html
3) Frankenstein's Lightning Laboratory: Electrical Safety from Miami Museum of
Science and Space http://www.miamisci.org/af/sln/frankenstein/
4) Kids' Lightning Information and Safety
http://www.azstarnet.com/~anubis/zaphome.htm
5) Electrical Safety Library http://hazard.com/library/Electricity/
6) Lightning Safety Quiz http://www.mos.org/sln/toe/safety.html
7) Rules for Electrical Safety http://www.cp-ws.com/ElecSafetyRules.htm
8) Safety with Electricity from Western Power
http://www.wpcorp.com.au/education_training/world_of_energy/kids_area/safety_ele
ctricity.html
 
Renewable Power from Western Power, Australia
http://www.wpcorp.com.au/our_environment/renewable_energy/start_page/index.html
Learn about this power company's focus on renewable energy from wind, bioenergy and to a lesser extent, solar technologies.
Related Websites:
2) California's Renewable Road http://www.energy.ca.gov/education/renewableroad/index.html
3) Solar Electricity http://www.soton.ac.uk/~solar/intro/start.htm
4) Waterpower from Encarta http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?ti=04EE7000
 
Science: Electricity
http://www.english.upenn.edu/~jlynch/Frank/Contexts/electric.html
This website provides a historical perspective of electrical experiments and discovery.
 
Theater of Electricity from Museum of Science, Boston
http://www.mos.org/sln/toe/toe.html
Visit the online home of the world's largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator. Learn about sparks, electricity, Tesla cells, lightning, and more.
Related Websites:
2) How Van de Graaff Generators Work by J.M. Zavisa from How Stuff Works
http://www.howstuffworks.com/vdg.htm
3) Van de Graaff Electrostatic Generator Page
http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/emotor/vdg.html
 
Websites for Teachers
Activities to Explore Static Electricity at Boston Museum of Science
http://www.mos.org/sln/toe/staticmenu.html
Here you find background information and activities for teaching about static electricity.
Related Websites:
2) Electricity and Tennis Balls http://www.mos.org/sln/toe/tennisballs.html
3) Static Electricity - A Hair Raising Phenomenon (Grades K-6) from Franklin
Institute http://sln.fi.edu/tfi/activity/energy/ener-2.html
 
Brown Bag Science (Grades 1-5) by J. Adair
http://explorer.scrtec.org/explorer/explorer-db/rsrc/783750561-447DED81.1.htm
The purpose of this investigation is to introduce students to the concept of electricity and dispel any fears they may have that they don't understand the concept.
 
Conductor or Not (Grades 4-5)
http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/science/lessons45/conductor.html
In this activity, students identify conductors and nonconductors of electricity.
 
Electrical Appliances (Grades K-3) by M. Schaefer
http://www.amphi.com/~tlcf/schaefer/web1/elec.html
A technology timeline is used by students to explore how electrical appliances have changed during each decade of this century. Lesson includes printable worksheets.
 
Electricity (Grades 5-7) by J. Levey
http://www.iit.edu/~smile/ph9406.html
This activity has students creating a number of electrical circuits.
 
Electricity and Magnetism Lesson Plans from Teach-nology
http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/lesson_plans/science/physics/electricity/
This lesson collection contains 32 different plans.
 
It's Positively Shocking (Grade 1) by L. Haskell & J. Catlett
http://www.coreknowledge.org/CKproto2/resrcs/lessons/1_97_ItsPositivelyShock.pdf
In these lessons, demonstrations and hands-on experiments involve static and current electricity through simple circuits, insulators and conductors (In Adobe Acrobat pdf format).
 
Live Wires Turned On To Electricity by D. Brock & L. Faulkenberg (Grade 4)
http://www.coreknowledge.org/CKproto2/resrcs/lessons/42K_Live_Wires.pdf
This site contains a nine-lesson unit with hands-on activities and background information for the study of static and current electricity, conductors, insulators, and electromagnets (In Adobe Acobat pdf format).
 
Magnetic Current (Grade 4)
http://www.schoolnet.ca/general/club-electrique/e/page10.html
This activity demonstrates that an electric current can act like a magnet.
 
Shocking Truth About Electricity by (Grade 4) by T. Trcka, G. West, & J. Bindseil
http://www.coreknowledge.org/CKproto2/resrcs/lessons/499Electricity.pdf
This unit plan contains hands-on experiments leading students to better understand the concepts of electricity (In Adobe Acobat pdf format).
 
Watts Up? from Project Co-NECT
http://www.co-nect.net/Schools/Energy/elementary.html
This project is a school electricity conservation activity that involves learning to read the electric meter.
 
static electricity
electricity
electrostatic discharge
energy
electric charge
electric current
electric shock
insulation
conductor
atom
electron
positive charge
Coulomb's Law
opposites attract
conservation of charge
fuel cell
power line
negative charge
electrical outlet
electromagnet
electrical receptacle
electrical cord
lightning
electric utility
electrical appliance
telegraph
circuit
switch
GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter)
magnet
watt
volt
battery
charged particle
resistance
voltage
magnetism
ohm
electromotive force
light bulb
similar charge repels
lighting
flow
power plant
magnetic field
magnetic force
compass
north pole
charged particle
generator
ampere
turbine
ground
south pole
capacitor
induction
incandescent light
direct current
alternating current
light
solar energy
fossil fuel
hydroelectric power
nuclear power
wind power
diffusion
Ohm's law
proton
electroscope
transformer
electric vehicle
Van de Graaff generator
 
 
 
 Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 11/01.