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  • Writer's pictureDerek Stoppels

SNC1D Electricity PBL Unit

The Grade Nine Physics (Electricity) Unit is going to be based on a book/movie called The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. It is a true story of a boy who’s village (in Africa) was experiencing a severe drought. Crops weren’t growing, families were starving and people (and animals) were dying. The boy knew that if only he could somehow harness the wind, he could generate enough electricity to power a water pump and thus irrigate his family’s crops to grow enough food for him and eventually to help the rest of his village.

After watching this movie, and reading the book, I decided, that in the spirit of Sustainability (Gr. 9 Biology Unit) and renewable resources (Gr. 9 electricity unit) the students in my class were going to reproduce this scenario. At the beginning of the unit students will be given a very brief direction:

Make this light bulb shine!

From there, students, working in groups, will have the opportunity to research and develop/create a windmill that will generate enough electricity to power a light bulb, which I have provided to them (their group).

Final Product: A windmill that produces electricity.

And also a GOOGLE WEBSITE that proves how you have met all the curriculum expectations listed on the next page and satisfies the rubric on the last page. The website must be published so that it can be viewed publicly and you will share the website URL with your teacher.

The title of the website must be: SNC1D Electricity (Name)

On the back of this page are the curriculum expectations that will be covered by this project. All other expectations will be covered in class either by direct instruction or inquiry activities. Students will be responsible for demonstrating their learning of the expectations listed below (as per the rubic included herein) during an exit interview at the end of the unit. Students will be asked to prepare answers for a number of questions and will be asked a fewer number of questions randomly selected by me (Mr. Stoppels) for their interview. Students will be working in groups, but they will be responsible for all of the information.

The project will be scaffolded as we move through the unit. Support will be provided on a student by student basis, but the focus of this unit is to develop the OCDSB Exit Outcomes by using this project, and the grade nine science curriculum. At the end of the unit, each student will have to have prepared answers to a number of questions based on the curriculum expectations below, they must have a windmill that is functional (one windmill per group) and powers a small light bulb and must have completed all other classwork, including progress checks. There will not be a final unit test.


The following are not questions or assignments that are to be completed, they are copy and pasted from the curriculum documents that were created by the Ontario Ministry of Education and can be found online at

e1. assess some of the costs and benefits associated with the production of electrical energy from renewable and non-renewable sources, and analyse how electrical efficiencies and savings can be achieved, through both the design of technological devices and practices in the home;

e1.1 analyse the design of a technological device that improves its electrical efficiency or protects other devices by using or controlling static electricity (e.g., paint sprayers, photocopiers, lightning rods, grounding wires) [AI, C]

e1.2 assess some of the social, economic, and environmental implications of the production of electrical energy in Canada from renewable and non-renewable sources (e.g., wind, solar, hydro, coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear) [AI, C]

e2.1 use appropriate terminology related to electricity, including, but not limited to: ammeter, amperes, battery, current, fuse, kilowatt hours, load, ohms, potential difference, resistance, switch, volt- meter, and volts [C]

e2.3 predict the ability of different materials to hold or transfer electric charges (i.e., to act as insulators or conductors), and test their predictions through inquiry [IP, PR]

e2.5 design, draw circuit diagrams of, and construct series and parallel circuits (e.g., a circuit where all light bulbs go out when one light bulb is removed; a circuit that allows one of several light bulbs to be switched on and off in- dependently of the others), and measure electric current I, potential difference V, and resistance R at various points in the circuits, using appropriate instruments and SI units [IP, PR, AI, C]

e2.6 analyse and interpret the effects of adding an identical load in series and in parallel in a simple circuit [AI, C]

e3. demonstrate an understanding of the principles of static and current electricity.

e3.1 identify electrical quantities (i.e., current, potential difference, resistance, and electrical energy), and list their symbols and their corresponding SI units (e.g., electric current: I, ampere)

e3.2 explain the characteristics of conductors and insulators and how materials allow static charge to build up or be discharged

e3.3 compare and contrast static electricity with alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) (e.g., the charge on a charged electroscope, the charge in a functioning circuit)

e3.4 identify the components of a simple DC circuit (e.g., electrical source, load, connecting wires, switch, fuse), and explain their functions

e3.5 explain the characteristics of electric current, potential difference, and resistance in simple series and parallel circuits, noting how the quantities differ in the two circuits

e3.7 explain what different meters (e.g., ammeters, voltmeters, multimeters) measure and how they are connected within an electrical circuit to measure electrical quantities

e3.8 explain how various factors (e.g., wire length, wire material, cross-sectional area of wire) influence the resistance of an electrical circuit


Click this link to purchase the unit with a rubric on Teachers pay teachers.

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