Neuroscience, Wow! Record Electrical Signals from your Heart, Brain and Eyes


by Will Wharton

At Backyard Brains, our goal is to make advanced science simple!  We develop low-cost versions of high-tech devices to make entry-level neuroscience and human physiology experiments available to everyone.

New to Educational Innovations is Backyard Brains’ Heart and Brain SpikerBox.  This simple device makes it easy for teachers and students to record electrical signals from your heart, brain, and eyes—making previously “advanced” science experiments much more accessible for all. Read the rest of this entry »


Priming the Pump: Using Anticipatory Sets in Teaching about Electricity


by Roy Bentley and Ken Crawford

Madeline Hunter (1916–1994) was an American educator who developed a model for teaching and learning that was widely adopted by schools and is still used today.  Hunter believed that teachers made hundreds of decisions every day in their teaching.  Over time, she created a system to assist teachers in making those decisions.  She called her system “Instructional Theory into Practice.”  ITIP gives teachers concrete methods to improve their instruction.  You can use ITIP with any subject, including—in our case—teaching the basics of electricity.

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Using Solar Cells to Teach Series and Parallel Circuits


By Marty Mathiesen

During the electricity unit in my high school physics class, I like to do an activity in which students determine the effect of having batteries placed in a series circuit and also in a parallel circuit.  We explore questions such as What are the similarities?  The differences?  What are the advantages of each method?  Do you see any patterns?

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How Electricity Works: An Animated Guide


by Arthur Murray

Electricity is everywhere!  If you’ve ever experienced a power outage, you know how important this form of power is for our daily life. From brewing our morning coffee to keeping our smart phones charged, electricity is all around us.  It’s the spark of lightning during a thunderstorm or that tiny shock when you touch a doorknob.

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The Power of Electricity, Magnetism… and Infomercials!


Educational Innovations BlogBy Cathy Byrne

Virtually all fourth grade students explore electricity and magnetism.  As part of this unit, students are asked to do two things:

1 –   Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents (4-PS3-2)

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

This year, the teachers at my school put a new twist on our electricity and magnetism unit… and the results were amazing!

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