Lesson 4

An Alarming Idea: Designing Alarm Circuits

Designing an Alarm Circuit / Grade 5 / American Canyon, CA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - An Alarming Idea: Designing Alarm Circuits - Lesson 4

Students apply their knowledge of conductors, insulators, and electrical engineering as they imagine, plan, create, test, and improve an alarm circuit.

Reflection Questions

Before moving on to the Lesson 4 challenge, what does Cerissa do to help her students consolidate their knowledge of electrical circuits and engineering?

Cerissa conducts a 10-minute “Brain Spill” activity in which students use a graphic organizer that helps them review key ideas from the unit.

  • The Brain Spill gives students a chance to quickly record everything they know about a certain topic. (0:32)
  • Students have a chance to check their own understanding by putting check marks next to ideas they have that are also shared by others. (1:14) 
  • Students walk away with a personalized set of notes that highlight the content that was discussed by the class. (2:46)

In this lesson, what are the four steps involved in creating and evaluating schematic diagrams?

In this lesson, pairs of students work first as electrical engineers and then as contractors as they create and share schematic diagrams.

  • First, each pair of students draws a large schematic diagram showing how their alarm circuit is assembled. (6:04)
  • After switching diagrams with another pair of students, each team tries to build the circuit represented by the other team. (7:39)
  • After building the circuits, each partner group provides feedback about which parts of the diagram were clear and which needed improvement. (8:24)
  • Finally, groups work with the circuits they originally diagrammed and have the chance to test and improve their own switch connection points to light the bulb. (8:46)