Getting Crafty with the NGSS
Science and Children
National Science Teachers Association
Traditionally, electricity and circuits are taught using alligator clips, lightbulbs, batteries, and wires. Although these circuits engage students in building, they don't always provide opportunities for students to deeply explore energy, electricity, polarity, and circuitry. Multimedia Circuits is a curricular unit made up of three projects that allow students and teachers to engage in science learning from a more artistic perspective by constructing circuits using different media (i.e., clay, paper, and fabric). By engaging students in a craft-based approach rather than a traditional classroom approach, Multimedia Circuits gives students a new way to engage with science content (Gu et al. 2016). Additionally, with its strong focus on modeling and the engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States 2013), Multimedia Circuits empowers elementary teachers to engage their students in science learning and integrate their curriculum more fully. This article describes a presentation of Multimedia Circuits during a two-week, six lesson electricity unit. The projects can be done in sequence or in isolation, depending on teachers' curriculum, goals, and time constraints. The unit is comprised of three projects that gradually increase in complexity and build student understanding through hands-on, craft-based learning.
Tofel-Grehl, C., Litts, B.K., & Searle, K.A. (2016). Getting Crafty with NGSS. Science and Children, 54 (4), 48-53.