Facts

The flow of heat into and out of your home can be controlled by properly insulating house, i.e.


  • A bird can sit on a power line without getting electrocuted because it's not making a complete circuit so the electricity doesn't pass through its body. The electricity doesn't flow through the birds legs because it wants to find the easiest way to complete the circuit and that's along the power line.
  • If the bird was touching two lines or had one leg on the ground the circuit would be complete and the electricity would flow through the bird - killing it.
  • Electricity is a flow of electrons and it will only flow through things that have free electrons. Metal has free electrons - plastic, paper, wood and so on don't.
  • Electricity will only flow when there's a complete circuit back to where the electricity came from. So if a bird was to touch another power line at the same time and complete the circuit it would be electrocuted.
  • If we touch a live electric wire we give the electricity a shortcut to the ground and we would get electrocuted.

Did you know?

The flow of heat into and out of your home can be controlled by properly insulating house, i.e.


  • Power lines can carry thousands of volts of electricity.
  • Electricity occurs naturally in nature - lightning is electricity and if scientists could catch the electricity and store it one bolt would power a city for a year!
  • Some sea creatures like the electric eel create a chemical reaction to produce electricity - it's a bit of a shock for their enemies!
  • The human body is a good conductor of electricity.
  • Electricity can jump. That's why you should never try climbing power poles or power pylons - even though you can be some distance from the lines the electricity can jump from the lines and electrocute you.
  • When electricity runs through the human body it's called an electric shock. Electricity uses the body's nervous system and it can cause the muscles to tighten, your heart to stop and your breathing to stop. It can throw you across the room, burn you and even kill you.
  • Benjamin Franklin first experimented with electricity in the form of lightning in June 1754.

Experiments

The flow of heat into and out of your home can be controlled by properly insulating house, i.e.


  • Ask if you can open a torch to see how all the metal pieces join together to make a simple circuit.
  • Have your teacher work with you on an electrical circuit powered by a battery. You should only ever do electrical experiments with batteries because they don't carry enough voltage to hurt you.
  • How many things do you use every day that are powered by electricity? What would you do if there were no electricity to power your TV, computer, videos, ovens etc.?
  • How many things do you use every day that are powered by batteries?

Investigation

The flow of heat into and out of your home can be controlled by properly insulating house, i.e.


  • Talk to your family or classmates about safety tips when using electricity.

Why should you always make sure your hands a dry before touching a light switch or electrical appliance? Why should you never fly kites near power lines?


Back in the "old" days (before there was TV!), there were no dams or other devices to generate electricity. People used fireplaces to keep their houses warm and wood- or coal-burning stoves to cook food and heat water for baths. Kerosene lamps were the only way you could bring light into your home at night. Things have changed a lot in our modern world. Can you imagine not being able to flip a switch in your room and have the lights come on? Or not having a TV, refrigerator, dishwasher, toaster, computer, hair dryer and a bunch of other kinds of appliances in your house? We all tend to take electricity for granted - until there's a power outage and we realize how much we rely on it.