Lamps Have A Secret Electrical Symbol? Really?

Homeschooling your children is a rewarding and challenging endeavor. From reading classic literature to building up mathematical skills to learning how to identify the call of a chickadee – as a homeschooling parent you must embrace creativity. Practical projects that are based in the home can be portals to increased knowledge of physics and even basic project management! This article will show you, step by step, how to introduce your young students to electrical symbols and plans. This project works well for ages 7 and up. Let the learning begin!


Take Out Your Sketch Pads

The first part of this practical project is selecting a room to sketch. The kitchen is usually a great place to choose, as there are appliances and lots of lights and electrical outlets. You should instruct your student to include all windows, doors, appliances, and cupboards in the drawing. Sketching is a challenge for some kids and a breeze for others – adjust time accordingly.


The Sherlock Holmes of Energy Sources

Kids love to investigate – making a list of all of the energy sources in the selected room will plug into that impulse. Of course, make sure that you double-check their work so that the final work product is accurate!


The Case of the Missing Electrical Symbols

Electrical symbols are simply pictograms that have become commonly accepted, over time, to represent things like lamps or motors. An imaginative exercise can be used here; have the students draw an electrical symbol for each different element on their list. Stress that the electrical symbol should be as simple as possible. You will be no doubt enchanted with the pictograms they conjure up.


Reality Rears Its Head

Now that your students have happily created pictograms for their list of energy sources, send them off to research. You can have them look up basic electrical symbols like “lamp” or “motor” or “buzzer” on the Internet. Having them at least attempt the research themselves will build their confidence in this skill. When they have hit the research wall, step in and offer a worksheet. You can create your own or download one from an educational site on the Internet. Here is a list of the names of electrical symbols suitable for this age group:

  • Cell
  • Battery
  • Lamp
  • Buzzer
  • Motor
  • Push switch
  • Open switch
  • Closed switch
  • Resistor
  • Variable resistors
  • Wires
  • Where Wires Meet


Show-and-Tell Time

A practical way of introducing unfamiliar vocabulary is to show physical example of each word in your home. Be prepared for lots of questions!


Sketching in Symbols

When you have determined that the young minds have absorbed the basic ideas behind each symbol, it is time to have them sketch in (using pencil!) the electrical symbols on their drawings. Matching up the symbols with the physical energy sources in the room will prove a challenge. Explaining clearly that the process should take a few tries will reduce any pressure or stress.



The students will be left with a physical drawing, a basic electrical diagram which will serve very as a basis for further lessons related to electronics and electrical symbols. This should have the teacher beaming!