Nation's Report Card Home

Grade 4 Electrical Circuits Task: Administration and Scoring Materials

This page provides the directions and questions as they were presented to students who took the Electrical Circuits task. In addition, following each question is a sample response, the scoring criteria used to judge performance on the question, and performance data for students in the nation.

In this task, students learn to assemble a simple electrical circuit. Then, students design and conduct an investigation to compare the conductivities of different materials. Finally, students use their knowledge learned from comparing circuits having one or two light bulbs to design and conduct an investigation to determine which of two black boxes contains a light bulb.

See the test booklet.

Directions and Materials for Electrical Circuits
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4



For this task, you received a kit that contains materials you will use to perform investigations and solve a mystery during the next 40 minutes.

Please open your kit now, take all of the things out of the bag, and put them on your desk. Use Diagram 1 to check that all of the materials in the diagram are included in your kit. If any materials are missing, raise your hand, and someone will provide you with the materials you need. 


Diagram 1

Picture of two light bulb holders, battery in holder, two light bulbs, three wires with clips, two boxes with wires sticking out, a toothpick, a straw, and a paper clip




In this task you will perform investigations using electrical circuits. At the end of this task, you will use what you have learned to solve a mystery about a hidden light bulb.

This task contains the following four parts:

Part 1: Learning to Assemble an Electrical Circuit
Part 2: Designing Your Own Circuit
Part 3: Designing a Different Circuit
Part 4: Investigating Unknown Boxes

You will be scored on how well you

  • design your investigations,
  • record your observations, and
  • answer questions based on your investigations and your knowledge about electrical circuits.

Follow the directions on each page and write your answers to the questions in the spaces provided in your booklet.


You will now place the light bulbs in their holders.

Take the light bulb holder labeled 1. Place one of the light bulbs into the holder. Twist the bulb until its bottom touches the bottom metal part of the holder as shown in Diagram 2.

Take the light bulb holder labeled 2. Place the other light bulb into the holder. Twist the bulb until its bottom touches the bottom metal part of the holder as shown in Diagram 2.


Diagram 2

Picture of Bulb 1 and Bulb 2 

Holder 1 and its light bulb will be called Bulb 1.

Holder 2 and its light bulb will be called Bulb 2.

Make sure you keep the light bulbs in their holders for the rest of the task.

You will now learn how to use the clips at the end of the wires.

Take one of the wires with clips at the end. If you press down on the wide part of the clip, the clip will open, as shown in Diagram 3 below. You can then clip the wire onto things. If the black cover of the clip slips off, raise your hand, and you will be given a new wire with clips.


Diagram 3

The first picture shows how pressing both sides of a clip will open it. The second picture shows a clip that is open.