Electricity STEM Challenge (Series Circuits and Parallel Circuits)


This electricity STEM Challenge is a hands-on investigation of series and parallel circuits that encourages application of what students know about current electricity while they design and create light-up vests for road crew workers.

In this activity, students will work through the engineering process by brainstorming, planning, designing, and carrying out their plans to design a light-up vest for road crew workers who work at night. The vests need to light up with both a series circuit and a parallel circuit. Since it is a STEM challenge, students will test their designs, reflect, and possibly have to rework them.

File Type

PDF (Acrobat) Document File

Be sure that you have an application to open this file type before downloading and/or purchasing.


This STEM Challenge Covers:

✓ Current electricity
✓ Making closed, complete circuits
✓ The components of current electricity (battery cell, wires, resistor/bulb)
✓ Series circuit
✓ Parallel circuit
✓ The engineering process

With This STEM Challenge, You’ll Get:

✓ Non-fiction reading piece to help build the background knowledge of the teacher and/or the student
✓ Engaging introduction to the STEM activity and problem
✓ Higher level thinking, problem solving skills, and cooperative learning
✓ Troubleshooting tips, extension ideas, and other helpful hints to make this smooth
✓ Practice sheet (printable sort)
✓ Anchor chart
✓ Detailed teacher information
✓ Reflection questions and grading rubric
.… and so much more!

Materials Used
• large brown grocery bag
• button batteries
• copper tape
• electrical tape
• LED bulbs
• markers
• scissors
Most of these materials are linked, in the product, to where I purchased them on Amazon for relatively inexpensive prices in large quantities.

How You Can Use This Unit:

✓ Broken up over several days
✓ As a supplement to an already established program
✓ Science centers
✓ Whole group, small group, partners, or individual work
✓ Enrichment activities

These lessons are perfect for the growth mindset classroom!

This STEM challenge aligns with NGSS for electricity and engineering standards! Help your students become problem solvers!

This STEM challenge is detailed, full of pictures, background information, extension ideas, troubleshooting tips, and much more! I have even linked where to find the materials needed for this activity. (Though, you may find them cheaper elsewhere.)

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