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Electrical Insulators and Conductors

In this worksheet, students will identify materials which conduct electricity and those which stop the flow of electricity.

'Electrical Insulators and Conductors' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Electricity

Curriculum subtopic:   Conductors and Insulators

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Electricity - one of things that life would be unimaginable without!

 

Electricity travels through materials called ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORSMetals are good electrical conductors.

Coil of wire

 

Some materials do not allow the flow of electricity. These materials are called ELECTRICAL INSULATORS. Many non-metals are good electrical insulators.

 

So, let's find out all about Conductors and Insulators of electricity.

Thinking back to that introduction, first off complete the following sentence by choosing the best phrase from the list below:

 

An electrical conductor.......

allows electricity to flow

slows down the flow of electricity

stops the flow of eletricity

Which materials are GOOD electrical conductors? 

metals

non-metals

Right, now complete this sentence:

 

Materials which STOP the flow of electricity are called.......

solids

insulators

plastics

What is the best choice to complete this sentence?

 

Electrical insulators are mostly.........

non-metals

liquids

metals

Below are five different materials.

 

Choose which THREE of them are electrical insulators.

iron

plastic

wood

copper

rubber

Now choose which TWO of these materials are electrical conductors.

paper

wax

steel

aluminium foil

glass

So, now let's put this into action.  Think about electrical wires that carry electricity between the plug and your appliance, like a bedside lamp.

 

Electrical wires are covered in.........

copper

paint

plastic

Electrical wires are covered in plastic to keep us.........

awake

switched on

safe

Callum and Amy build a circuit using a battery, wires and a bulb. They are going to use the circuit to test which objects conduct electricity.

 

They make a gap in the circuit and connect each different object into the circuit in turn, using clips.

 

How will they know if each object is an electrical conductor?

it will give them a shock

it will glow

the bulb will light

Callum and Amy collect the following four objects:

 

Lolly stick Drinking straw House keys Metal paper clip
LOLLY STICK PLASTIC STRAW HOUSE KEY METAL PAPER CLIP

 

Which TWO of the objects, when wired into their circuit, do you think will make the bulb light?

 

Tick TWO answers.

lolly stick

plastic straw

house key

paper clip

  • Question 1

Thinking back to that introduction, first off complete the following sentence by choosing the best phrase from the list below:

 

An electrical conductor.......

CORRECT ANSWER
allows electricity to flow
EDDIE SAYS
That's right: an electrical conductor allows electricity to flow through it so that devices work the way they should. As you'll find out metals are good conductors and not a lot else is.
  • Question 2

Which materials are GOOD electrical conductors? 

CORRECT ANSWER
metals
EDDIE SAYS
Yup, it's metals. Some are very good conductors (like gold, silver and copper) and some are just good (like iron and lead). Even liquid mercury conducts pretty well! Mind you, you'll find out that one non-metal that can conduct is graphite, which is a type of carbon (it's what goes down the middle of your pencil - pencil lead!).
  • Question 3

Right, now complete this sentence:

 

Materials which STOP the flow of electricity are called.......

CORRECT ANSWER
insulators
EDDIE SAYS
Insulators are materials that don't carry an electric current. Air is a good insulator - if there's a gap in the circuit, current won't flow. That gap is made of air and electricity won't jump across. Plastics are an example of electrical insulators, but not all electrical insulators are plastic!
  • Question 4

What is the best choice to complete this sentence?

 

Electrical insulators are mostly.........

CORRECT ANSWER
non-metals
EDDIE SAYS
Well, it's certainly not metals as they're great conductors. Liquids - well, mercury is a liquid metal and conducts well, and some other liquids may conduct electricity a bit, but it's too big a group and most don't. However, with the exception of graphite (mentioned earlier), non-metals are insulators.
  • Question 5

Below are five different materials.

 

Choose which THREE of them are electrical insulators.

CORRECT ANSWER
plastic
wood
rubber
EDDIE SAYS
Iron and copper are metals - they conduct electricity. Plastic, wood and rubber are non-metals = insulators. Got it?
  • Question 6

Now choose which TWO of these materials are electrical conductors.

CORRECT ANSWER
steel
aluminium foil
EDDIE SAYS
Steel and aluminium are metals, so they conduct. The other three are non-metals, so they don't.
  • Question 7

So, now let's put this into action.  Think about electrical wires that carry electricity between the plug and your appliance, like a bedside lamp.

 

Electrical wires are covered in.........

CORRECT ANSWER
plastic
EDDIE SAYS
Plastic - why's that? Mainly because it won't conduct electricity and so you won't get a shock when you touch it. Plastic is also flexible and can be coloured, which is handy.
  • Question 8

Electrical wires are covered in plastic to keep us.........

CORRECT ANSWER
safe
EDDIE SAYS
Never touch damaged electrical wires because you may get an electric shock which is very dangerous. The insulating plastic keeps us SAFE.
  • Question 9

Callum and Amy build a circuit using a battery, wires and a bulb. They are going to use the circuit to test which objects conduct electricity.

 

They make a gap in the circuit and connect each different object into the circuit in turn, using clips.

 

How will they know if each object is an electrical conductor?

CORRECT ANSWER
the bulb will light
EDDIE SAYS
Callum and Amy are testing materials to see which ones conduct electricity. They need a way of telling which ones do. If the electricity flows through the circuit, the bulb will light. That's handy because it's easy to make a results chart then. If the material conducts, it allows electric current around the circuit and the bulb will light up.
  • Question 10

Callum and Amy collect the following four objects:

 

Lolly stick Drinking straw House keys Metal paper clip
LOLLY STICK PLASTIC STRAW HOUSE KEY METAL PAPER CLIP

 

Which TWO of the objects, when wired into their circuit, do you think will make the bulb light?

 

Tick TWO answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
house key
paper clip
EDDIE SAYS
Metals are good conductors. Objects made of metal complete the circuit, allowing the electrical energy to flow. So, the key and paperclip, made of metal, make the bulb light as the current flows around the circuit. The lolly stick and straw are non-metals, so the bulb doesn't light. Got that now?
---- OR ----

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