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Lloyd Godson, Hastings Secondary College, New South Wales

Nature of the inquiry problem

How electrically conductive or insulative are different materials?

Suitable year levels and subject areas

Australian Curriculum

Year 6 Science

Year 6 Digital Technologies

Curriculum links

Physical Sciences

  • Electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources (ACSSU097).

Digital Technologies Knowledge and Understanding

  • Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data (ACTDIK014).
Learning Objectives

Students will learn about the CTD rosette system, an instrument on RV Investigator used to collect data on oceanographic parameters.

Students will learn that sea water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and marine vessels need protective coatings to prevent electronic equipment from short circuiting. Students will test the conductivity of a variety of materials using simple circuits.

Student Learning Outcomes*

Students will be able to:

  • Explain how electricity flows through a simple circuit
  • Make predictions about the conductivity of materials
  • Test materials to determine if they are a conductor or an insulator
  • Use code to create a conductivity tester.

Group work

Assessment outcomes

Informal reflection questions to gauge student understanding of electrical conductivity.


Information and communications technology (ICT)

Computer/laptop, Light bulb / buzzer, MaKey MaKey board and USB cable, MaKey MaKey Piano Program, Alligator Clips, Beakers or cups, salt.

Objects to test conductivity - fruit, paper clip, paper, pencil, cups of distilled, tap and salt water, food, clay, copper tape, aluminium foil, plants, magnets.


Using Code to Build a Simple Conductivity Tester (created by Lloyd Godson) (2018) Copyright owned by Department of Education, New South Wales. Except as otherwise noted, this work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Download the lesson

Using code to build a simple conductivity tester PDF (542 KB)

Using code to build a simple conductivity tester TXT (9 KB)

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