Energy systems


5. Make a Simple ElectroCity


Each student deisgns and makes an ElectroCity: a cutomized scene or device that includes circuits to create light, sound and/or motion.

Advance Preparation

  • Photocopy worksheet and assessment (downloadable at bottom of page)
  • Bring in a sample ElectroCity that you or a student has made


  • Motors, AA batteries, hook-up wire, wire strippers, materials for making switches, LED’s, coin, batteries, buzzers, rubber bands, tape, cardstock, craft materials


  1. Planning an ElectroCity:
    An ElectroCity is a scene that uses light, sound and/or motion to make it come alive. Students will be creating their own ElectroCities, using any of the materials they have learned about.The first step is to decide on the scene and the electrical devices to use, such as LED’s, buzzers and motors. Students should begin by writing descriptions and making drawings of their ElectroCity ideas.

  2. Electrical design:
    As part of their ElectroCity plans, students will need to design circuits for LED’s, buzzers and/or motors. Review the importance of switches, and remind students of the one rule: Every circuit should be controlled by a switch. Review the use of standard circuit symbols and diagrams. Ask students to design the circuits they will use in their ElectroCities, and record them by means of circuit diagrams.

  3. Making the ElectroCity: Provide time for students to create and test their designs.

  4. Troubleshooting:
    It is likely that some circuits will not work. Review the concept of troubleshooting, which was introduced in Lesson 2, in the course of making switches. Review the troubleshooting chart from that lesson: when an issue arises, the first step is to find the cause of the problem. Once the cause is identified, it is usually not too hard to come up with the fix.

  5. Homework:

A Hidden Switch Hunt. In preparation for Lesson 6, ask students to conduct a hunt for hidden switches. These are switches that you operate by doing something else, such as by opening or closing a refrigerator door . They can use the worksheet to record the examples they find.





In case students have difficulty coming up with ideas for ElectroCities, you can:

  • Show students an ElectroCity you or your students have made;
  • Share some ideas that students have come up with elsewhere; and/or
  • Conduct a class brainstorming session, in which you list all the ideas students think of.