Basic Circuits with Cubelets (SOL 4.3)

Students learn about cubelets and circuits

Students learn about cubelets and circuits

SOL 4.3:The student will investigate and understand the characteristics of electricity.

Key concepts include: b) basic circuits

Materials: Cubelets, charged cubelet batteries, white boxes, cubelets manual


  1. Teachers provide examples of circuits. Students try and guess first. Teachers explain that every time they flip a switch or turn something on, that is starting a circuit.
  2. Teachers provide out blue power cubelet. Teachers explain that every circuit starts out with a power source. In this case this blue cubelets have batteries in them to start the power. Students will try to turn on the power cube (younger students might need help the switch is pretty small). Teachers will have to check and make sure it is working. If it is green and flashing at the top that means the power is working.
  3. Teachers explain the middle block (the black cube) makes the circuit open or closed. A closed circuit (when the switch is turned on) allows a path for electricity to go completely through an object. An open circuit (when the switch is turned off) is when part of the circuit is cut off so electricity can’t pass through. All of the black boxes have different types of switches. Teachers will explain further depending on students’ grasp of circuit.  
  4. Teachers will have the object that functions because of electricity. These are the white cubes. The white boxes can be lights, speakers, wheels, etc. Students will then put these on and make their own circuits. For the older students, teachers can introduce the concept of the path of least resistance and they can expand to the other blocks. The younger students will just keep to the three basic units for now. 
  5. Students have an opportunity to explore and experiment with the blocks the rest of the session.

Informal Assessment: Students explain how they used the blocks.  Teachers will ask students if the circuit is open or closed.

Teacher Reflection: For the assessment, we reviewed whether they can complete a full circuit on their own without help or with minimum help.  Students needing more support will benefit from parallel teaching and the smaller groups. We also tried incorporating the terminology they are learning in their social skills program, Unstuck and On Target, throughout this lesson, will try to employ the terminology in our lessons. For instance, “Oops, that was an unexpected reaction when we put that cubelet on! We need to come up with a Plan B.” Or you both want to use the same color cubelet, “How can we come up with a compromise?” and “James thanks for being flexible and letting Alice use your cubelet.”

Parent Letter:  Week 2 and 3 were on a combined Parent Letter given out Week 3.