Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Electric Generation

Dennis Bush
Bay District Schools


Students identify the components that are necessary for the production of electric currents. This will be accomplished by having the students produce electricity by simply turning an electrical extension cord. (THIS IS AN OUTDOOR ACTIVITY)


The student knows that electrical forces exist between any two charged objects.

The student describes how magnetic force and electrical force are two aspects of a single force.


Per group:
- 1 voltmeter set on lowest setting
- One 50 foot extension cord
- 2 electrical leads
- pencil and paper to record data

Check with your science department to locate these materials.


Step 1. Collect all required materials.
Step 2. Be sure there is appropriate available space.


1. Place your students into groups of four.
2. Ask students to brainstorm how electricity is made. After a few minutes , let them report their answers. Lead them in discussion to the three things that are required for the production of electric currents; mechanical energy, coil of wire, and a magnetic field.
3. Give each group a voltmeter, an extension cord, and 2 leads.
4. Take the materials outside, be sure that each group has plenty of room.
5. Connect one end of EACH lead to one leg of the extension cord and the other end to the voltmeter.
6. Now, while two students turn the extension cord like a jump rope the other two students watch the volt meter and record what is happening.
7. Now have the students turn 90 degrees from their original position and repeat the activity and report any difference.
8. Students should now try to identify where the three componets for the production of electricity are and account for the difference in voltage because of the change in position.
9. Initiate a discussion of questions and answers to make sure students understand what they did and the obtained results.

In this activity the coil of wire would be the extension cord, the mechanical energy would be the students moving the cord,and the magnetic field would be the earth's own magnetic field. When the extension cord is aligned east west, across the earth's magnet field,more current is produced than when aligned parallel to the magnetic field.


Have students submit a diagram of a machine that could be used to generate an electric current using a source of mechanical energy, a coil of wire, and the earth's magnetic field including a description of how it would function. Students should be able to accurately identify the three parts of a generator. Each diagram should contain the three elements that are required for the production of electricity; a coil of wire, a magnetic field, and some form of mechanical force.


As an extension should begin to recognize that electricity and magnetism are interrelated and are part of the same force. Also, the teacher can point out that it is the charged parts of atoms, protons and electrons that are responsible for both electricity and magnetism.

Attached Files

Rubric for assessment of activity.     File Extension: pdf

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