Electricity generation: Part 1

Magnets and lemons

The presentation has been developed at the request of primary schools and links with the National Curriculum, Key Stage 2: Units 2F, 4F and 6G.
Suitable for years 5 and 6.

The time for the basic session is about 1 hour.

Outline of content:
Aims to:

  • Introduce the concept of energy
  • Explain that energy is needed to work and play
  • Show that energy makes things work
  • Show that electricity is needed to make many things work
  • Explain with a game that electricity is a flow of particles (electrons) which carry energy to where it is needed
  • Show that we get electricity from batteries and generators
  • Demonstrate that a battery can be made using lemons
  • Demonstrate how a simple hand held generator can be made
  • Show that everyday we use large amounts of electricity
  • Explain that huge generators are needed (these will be described in the second session on Electrical Generation)

The second Electricity Generation presentation on the website covers energy resources and generation of electricity for factories, homes and schools.

Note – The model of electricity as an energy carrier is used so that it has been possible to avoid descriptions of forms of energy and changing one form of energy to another. In the second presentation on Electricity Generation, sources of energy are introduced and the fact that the energy from these sources can be used to generate electricity which carries the energy to where it is needed in homes, factories and schools.

Basic concepts about electricity are explained in the presentation called Electricity. It would therefore be helpful if this Electricity Generation presentation is given after children have seen the presentation called Electricity. Alternatively some of the activities and explanations from the electricity presentation could be inserted in this presentation.

Points to note:
Please read the notes about safety and agree the assessment with the teacher before the session! Important information about handling neodymium iron boron magnets is included in the safety notes.

Cross references:

  • Activities
  • The slides in the PowerPoint presentation (4.5 MB) are referenced in the table
  • The PowerPoint presentation can be running throughout the session
  • Apparatus details are provided and are linked to the relevant sections


Related information

Topic Files: Electricity generation: Part 1