Learning about Electrical Circuits with littleBits

Learning about Electrical

Learning about Electrical1

– Lesson Overview: Students will receive an introductory lesson to electrical circuits and how they work. They will learn how to draw an electrical circuit diagram using the correct terminology. They will build a variety of circuits out of littleBits and explain how they work.

– Lesson Objectives: Students will understand basic vocabulary words about electrical circuits and will be able to explain the basics of how they work.

– Assessment Strategies: Student illustrations of electrical circuit diagrams and written explanations.

CCSS6-8RS/TS4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics (ask Goldstein for details on Magic of the Electron) – Learn about the different vocabulary words around circuits and identify how different bits demonstrate them)

CCSS6-8RS/TS7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version that is expressed visually (eg in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph or table – Have students sketch out diagrams of circuits they’ve created

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

NGSS 4-PS3-4. Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.

Duration: 1 60 minute lesson

Middle School (ages 11-13)
High School (ages 14-17)


Physical Science
Career Tech
Makerspace Workshops

fan (4)
slide dimmer (4)
branch (4)
buzzer (4)
slide switch (4)
button (4)
led (4)
power (4)
pressure sensor (4)
fork (4)
screwdriver (1)
split (4)
battery + cable (1)

Chart paper 1
Post-It Notes 1


STEP 1 : Brainstorming and Instruction 10 minutes

Start by getting students thinking about electricity and how it affects their daily lives. Divide students up into groups and have them brainstorm some of the everyday objects they encounter that use electricity. Demonstrate a basic circuit (power + switch + LED) to students using littleBits. Draw out or display a diagram of a basic circuit sketch and explain to students where they can find these components in the littleBits circuits. Define and explain terms such as conductor, resistor, switch, charge and battery. Talk about how these components can be seen in everyday objects

STEP 2 : Exploration of basic circuits 10 minutes

Give each group a set of bits and challenge them to build basic circuits with them. As students build their circuits, have them sketch out circuit diagrams and label each of the components. Give students a chance to check their work with their peers.

STEP 3 : Exploration of complex circuits – 10 minutes

Demonstrate a more complex circuit with littleBits, such as a parallel circuit, and draw or display a circuit diagram with the parts. Challenge the students to create more complex circuits with their bits and to draw out the diagrams of the parts.

STEP 4 : Peer assessment – 10 minutes

Have groups share with each other (think group pair share) the circuits that they have created and their sketches. Groups should analyze and correct one another’s sketches and refine as necessary

STEP 5 : Reflection and sharing – 10 minutes

Have students share out some of their circuit designs and what they learned from creating them. What real world items can be seen in some of these circuits? How does this change their understanding of objects in their everyday life? Collect and assess student diagrams.