Fully charged

This lesson for students aged 7–11 is about how batteries store energy.

Lesson outline

Step 1: Create curiosity by identifying a knowledge gap for pupils

A big think about an everyday object – the battery. Finding out what it is that we do and don’t know.

Step 2: Innovate by designing and promoting a new battery

Pupils consider characteristics that are desirable and how these can be measured and compared to other batteries.

Step 3: Interpret and make meaning of graphical representation of data

Pupils review and explain a given graph. Pupils return to their own posters to include a graph that would tell the success story of their battery compared to a different one. (Link to the video clip of racing an electric car against a conventional car.)

Step 4: A plenary compare and contrast

Pupils review two sets of images. How do we currently get a battery to be more powerful? And how do we currently create a battery to last longer? Recognition that battery research is current and essential to the future. (Link to the video clip of the attempt to break the world record for a lemon battery.)


The Underpinning Big Idea

  • Batteries store energy

Children will be able to work scientifically by:

  • Gathering, recording, classifying and presenting data in a variety of ways to help in answering questions

Children will learn:

  • To associate the brightness of a lamp or the volume of a buzzer with the number and voltage of cells used in the circuit
    • To understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future

Cross-curricular opportunities:

  • Numeracy – interpreting graphs
  • Literacy- listening attentively to others, seeking clarification and detail.

Video clips

Download the teachers' guide for instructions on how to use these clips:

Cars and graphs:

The world's largest lemon batter:

Solar-powered flight:

Lesson material

Download the full teachers' guide.

You'll also need the PowerPoint presentation.

Watch the full lectures

View the full CHRISTMAS LECTURES, 'Supercharged: Fuelling the future', on the Ri Channel: richannel.org/christmas-lectures

Primary resources produced by the University of Manchester's Science & Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub and the Primary Science Teaching Trust.