Theory Play Share & Discuss

Lesson Preview

Teach Conductors and Insulators
with The Electric Shocktopus

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Conductors and Isolators

Learn what these terms mean and continue playing the Electric Shocktopus!

Teacher Resources

This lesson reviews the concept of Lorentz force and teaches the students about conductors and isolators.

  • Theory: This lesson introduces your students to the concepts of conductors and isolators.
  • Play: Students get to continue playing the Electric Shocktopus.
  • Share & Discuss: These tasks focus on understanding conductors and isolators.

Review: Lorentz Force

  • What is the Lorentz force?
  • Explain what the letters stand for in the equation for the Lorentz force below:

F = qE + qv × B

Show Notes

Lorentz force: the force (F) exerted on a charged particle (q) moving with velocity (v) through an electric (E) and magnetic field (B).
In other words: the equation of the force that affects a charge particle as it moves through an electric and magnetic field.

Hendrik A. Lorentz.

Teacher Resources

Image Source: Hendrik Lorentz, Wikimedia Commons.

Conductors and Insulators

  • In a conductor, electric current can flow freely, in an insulator it cannot
  • A good example of both is an electric cord: the metal wire inside is a conductor and the plastic wrapping is an insulator
  • A material that conducts fairly well, but not very well, is known as a resistor
  • Substances called semiconductors act as good conductors under some conditions and poor conductors under other conditions

Gameplay screenshot.

Teacher Resources


Lesson Goal

Now is time to play the game! Optional challenge: Earn 3 stars in as many levels as you can.

CONTROLS Movement - arrow keys / WASD
Activate charge - shift / Z
Restart level - R
Menu - ESC

Pay attention to -
How do blocked electric and magnetic fields behave?

Gameplay screenshot.

Teacher Resources

NOTE: By now, some of your students have likely progressed into the game’s harder levels, which can be extremely challenging. It can be a good idea to remind them the game unlocks multiple levels when you complete one, so a student should take a break from a specific level if they are becoming frustrated. They should also be aware that finishing a level with all the stars is much, much harder than merely completing it. Finally, the game has a puzzle element: sometimes the challenge is to figure out how to approach each level. If your students are having trouble, you can always use the game’s official walkthrough video.

How to Play

To begin, click on Let's Rock.

Gameplay screenshot

Click a level to play it. To see more levels, click on the arrows.

Gameplay screenshot

Share & Discuss

Share & Discuss

  • How far along did you get?
  • Did you get 3 stars in a level? How many times did you manage to get 3 stars?
  • Did you find examples of conductors and insulators? Where?

Teacher Resources

These questions are meant to get the students to open up and start a discussion. The answers do not matter as much as the fact that they are talking: the next slide provides opportunities for evaluation and should be more strictly observed.

A good observation about conductors (featured in the game from level 17 onward): They shield you from outer electric fields.

Tasks after Playing

What materials are typically conductive? What materials are not?

Show Notes

Plasma (superheated matter, the hottest form of matter) usually has a very high conductivity. Conversely, gas is usually an excellent insulator. Metals are typically good conductors (they resist electric currents but not much), whereas common good insulators include glass, air, plastic, rubber, and wood.

What is a resistor material? What do you think is a superconductor?

Show Notes

Material that conducts electricity, but not that well: it has resistivity, but this resistivity is not enough to block conductivity completely.
A superconductor is a substance capable of becoming superconducting at sufficiently low temperatures. When a substance is superconductive, it has no resistance and electricity flows freely.

Why is water conductive while water molecules themselves (H20) are not conductive?

Show Notes

Due to impurities. This is directly related to the concentration of ions in the water. These conductive ions come from dissolved salts and inorganic materials such as alkalis, chlorides, sulfides and carbonate compounds (source)

Teacher Resources

It’s a good idea to let the students think about these answers for a moment before asking them - if you so wish, they can even check the game for the answers if necessary! Below are the expected answers for these questions. If you have time, you can demonstrate the answers in the game itself.

You can also let the students know what the topic of the next lesson is: Coulomb’s law!