General Lab Information


Series & Parallel Circuits

program image

Students learn about electrical circuits and the difference between series and parallel circuits. They turn mechanical energy into electrical energy using hand crank generators to power the circuits they create.

Session Information: This activity is available only in-person. It cannot be booked as a virtual program.

In-Person Session Information
  • Session times are Tuesday - Friday, 10 - 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 - 2 p.m.
  • Activities are pre-selected based on grade level
  • Up to two classes per session, maximum 30 students/class

All in-person activities are interactive, hands-on student experiences guided by our instructors. 

New York State Standards

New York State Science Learning Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Crosscutting Concepts

Science and Engineering Practices

PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer

Systems and System Models

Energy and Matter: Flows, Cycles, and Conservation

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Common Core Mathematics


Common Core English Language Arts

Speaking and Listening


Comprehension and Collaboration

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

New York State Standards for the Arts

Core Document Elementary Science
Performance Indicators S1.1, Scientific Inquiry:
“Ask “why” questions in attempts to seek greater understanding concerning objects in a continuing, creative process.”
Major Understandings S1.1a,b Scientific Inquiry:
• “Observe and discuss objects and events and record observations.”
• “Articulate appropriate questions based on observations.”
Performance Indicators PI 4.1, Physical Setting:
“Describe a variety of forms of energy (e.g. heat, chemical, light) and the changes that occur in objects when they interact with those forms of energy.”
Major Understandings MU 4.1a,e Physical Setting:
• “Energy exists in various forms: heat, electric, sound, chemical, mechanical, light.”
• “Electricity travels in a closed circuit.”


Core Document Intermediate Science
Performance Indicators S1.1, Scientific Inquiry:
“Formulate questions independently with the aid of references appropriate for guiding the search for explanations of everyday observations.”
Major Understandings S1.1a, b, c Scientific Inquiry:
• “Formulate questions about natural phenomena”
• “Identify appropriate references to investigate a question”
• “refine and clarify questions so that they are subject to scientific investigation”
Performance Indicators PI 4.4, Physical Setting:
“Observe and describe the properties of sound, light, magnetism, and electricity.”
Major Understandings MU 4.4b,d Physical Setting:
• “Light passes through some materials, sometimes refracting in the process. Materials absorb and reflect light, and may transmit light. To see an object, light from that object, emitted by or reflected from it, must enter the eye.”
• “Electrical energy can be produced from a variety of energy sources and can be transformed into almost any other form of energy.”

Program Audience

4th Grade