Electrical Energy: Light and Motion (SOL 4.3)

A student demonstrates her cubelet creation

A student demonstrates her cubelet creation

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

Key concepts include: d) the ability of electrical energy to be transformed into light and motion, and to produce heat.

Materials:  cubelets, visual examples


  1. Review with each student which cubelet (of the three colors) is the power source.
  2. If students are unclear, re-explain the idea of a power source.
  3. Teachers will explain that they will now discuss the power block, how it uses electricity and what electricity is.
  4. Teachers give examples of how electricity makes light, heat, sound, and motion.
  5. Students observe how the dark green cubes block electricity and how the light green ones let it move through.
  6. Students spend time experimenting with dark and light green cubes.

Informal Assessment:  Students are asked what electricity is, what each cubelet’s job is (based on color and function), and where they think they can find electricity.

 Adaptations added to this lesson:

  1. Peer models-utilize stronger students to help those struggling.
  2. For non-verbal student/s, give choices that they can point or grab at. Ex: For the assessment, tell the job of one of the cubelets and let him grab the cubelet which has that purpose.
  3. Provide example/and or visuals
  4. Using two rooms/or one big room to reduce the noise level and distractions as needed.


Teacher Reflection: The visuals helped the students remember whether a circuit was open or closed and to help students and teachers remember the functions of the different cubelets. Breaking the groups into smaller groups helped the students get more 1:1 from the teachers and was less distracting to the students.


Sample visual

Sample visual

Parent Letter:  (includes week 2 and week 3 information):

Last week we went over basic circuits. The students learned the difference between an open and a closed circuit as well as the basic components needed to make a circuit work. They made their own circuits using a toy called “Cubelets.” Cubelets are small, magnetic blocks with tiny computers inside that communicate with each other when they are connected. This allowed the students to create their own circuits by connecting a power source (a blue cubelet) with a passive/ control source (a black cubelet) and let them turn on something of their choice (a speaker, a light, a block with wheels etc.).

This week we will be continuing with the use of Cubelets. We will be learning what electricity is and how it can create light, motion, and heat.

If you would like to know more about Cubelets or you are thinking about getting them for your own home, visit http://www.modrobotics.com/cubelets/.

Challenge for the week: Circuits are simple and easy to create without the use of fancy blocks. If you want to do a fun project at home take a battery, two wires, and a small LED light bulb. Strip the ends of the two wires, connect them each to the positive and negative end of the battery, and then connect the other end to the light bulb. Have your child play with the idea of an open and closed circuit. This requires some supervision. If you would like something a little less complex, point out circuits that you use daily to your child (a light switch, the TV, the iPad etc.).