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As I said, my sixth graders and I are investigating electricity today. We're going to investigate circuits.

I begin by showing my students a bulb and battery, and I ask them if we can get the bulb to light using these two items. They say no, so I ask about the missing pieces, pulling from them ideas about how to create a circuit. I'll give the students each one wire, a bulb, and a battery, and I let them investigate for themselves. They see how they can make it work, and it challenges them.

Then I have them become the teacher, and they share stories about what they did to make the bulb light. Afterwards, they'll record their experiences in their lab notebooks and journals, explaining the materials they used, their methods, and their trial and error.

It's important for kids to find out that experiments don't always work out the first time. I tell them not to feel bad about it, and encourage them to think of new ways to think about the experiment that might make it more successful.

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