Science Programs for Children Ages 4 and 5


  • To introduce the idea of electricity as power.
  • To introduce the concept of an electrical circuit.

Books : (In kit)

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins

Equipment : (In kit)

  • Alligator clips on plastic coated wire (various sizes)
  • 1 Assorted bag of balloons
  • 2 Six volt Batteries (Large)
  • 4 Assorted bells & buzzers
  • 1 Board (2’ – hinged wooden board with parallel copper wires for 18 pairs of connectors)
  • 1 Generator (plastic hand cranked generator with plug-in cord with red & black alligator clips at other end)
  • 9 Light bulbs (blue holders)
  • 10 Propellers
  • Solar panels (wired together as one unit on cardboard)
  • 5 Switches (black & gold)

Consumables : (To be supplied by you)

Back-up batteries (one 9 volt; four AA; and four D)

Resource Book : (Contact your local library to borrow)

Levinson, Elaine. Teaching Children About Physical Science: Ideas and activities every teacher and parent can use. TAB Books, 1994.

Bookmarks : (In kit)

Paper copies of the bookmark are included in the kit. PDF and JPEG copies are available here.

  • PDF – 4 bookmarks per page. Ready to print in color.
  • JPG – single high quality jpeg image.



  • To introduce the idea of electricity as power.
  • To introduce the concept of an electrical circuit.
  • Introduction
    • What is electricity? (It is an invisible form of energy which can be created with chemical reactions, a generator, or by rubbing together two unlike objects.)
    • Static electricity is created by rubbing two unlike objects together such as a balloon on someone’s hair.
    • How do we use electricity?
    • Can we touch/taste/feel/smell/hear/see electricity?
    • What are some safety rules with electricity?
  • Program
    • Read THE DOORBELL RAN by Pat Hutchins.
    • Explain CIRCUIT or circle – from energy source to object and back to energy source.
    • Show how metal conducts electricity but plastic does not. Show the metal ends of the wire and how they have to touch to conduct the flow of electricity.
    • Show how the alligator clips work by squeezing the fattest part of the clip and remind children to clip onto the wire.
    • Demonstrate on a regular (1.5 volt) battery. Show how it is louder/brighter/faster on the bigger (6 volt) battery. If it is sunny enough, show how it works on solar panels (use single, compare with the 4 wired together). This can also be used with a very bright light.
    • Attach light or propeller to hand crank generator and have a child crank to make it work. If using propeller, show how direction of propeller changes with the change of direction of cranking (one way it blows on the face, the other way it blows on the hand holding the propeller).
    • Show a circuit with a switch – clip from power to switch, from switch to light/propeller/buzzer, then back to power. When switch is up, there is a gap in the circuit and the electricity will not flow through. When switch is closed, the circuit is complete and the light/propeller/buzzer works. (This will take a bit of cooperation since you need three wires to do this rather than just the two given to each child.)
    • Show how the 6 volt batteries are attached to the board to give power all down the copper wires, so those clips must not be removed. Show how they can clip their alligators to anyplace on the copper wire, but one end on each side.
    • Pass out two wires to each child and let them make circuits with the lights, propellers, and switches.
  • General
      • Make sure your batteries are still attached.
      • Make sure no one wire is connecting the two sides of the strip. If a wire is clipped at one end to one side and the other end is clipped on the other side, it shorts the circuit and everything stops dead.
    • If you have many (10 or more) students using the board, it would be wise to put the two 6 volt batteries in tandem for the circuit.
      • Attach a clip to one copper wire on the board. Attach the other end to the positive terminal of the battery.
      • Take a small piece of wire and hook the metal end to the negative terminal of the battery. Attach the other end to the positive terminal of the second battery.
      • Attach a clip to the negative end of the second battery and the other end back to the other copper wire on the board.
    • You may want to prove to yourself that even with the two 6 volt batteries, there is not enough electrical flow to give much, if any shock. You can then reassure the children that this won’t hurt them. Remind them that the electricity from the wall is MUCH more powerful and will hurt them if they put things into outlets.


Please print this evaluation, complete it and return to MVLS in the SWS red envelope.

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