Question Sheet: Electricity’s Spark of Life


Before reading:

  1. When do we actually get to see electricity?
  2. What are the most important things we power with electricity? What would you miss the most if your electric power were to fail?

During reading:

  1. What’s in the Bakken Library and Museum in Minneapolis?
  2. What parts of the body do researchers focus on when they study the human body’s electricity? What are some of the goals that these researchers have?
  3. Describe the difference between a proton and an electron.
  4. How did Luigi Galvani know there was a connection between electricity and an animal’s nerves?
  5. How do medical specialists treat people with Parkinson’s disease?
  6. Why did shoe stores in the 1950s have X-ray machines?
  7. Who was Frankenstein? What did electricity do for him?

After reading:

  1. Why does David Rees, near the beginning of the article, claim that “electricity is life”?
  2. Why do scientists refer to the chemical impulses in our bodies as electrical “signals”? What do they signal, and how do they do it?
  3. Why do the employees of the Bakken Library and Museum think the museum will help advance medical research?
  4. Why do you think the Frankenstein exhibit is so popular?
  5. Electrical signals inside the human body carry messages to and from the brain. What systems rely on electricity to carry information between people?


  1. Imagine you are a scientist living in the early part of the 19th century. You have been working for a long time on finding uses for electricity. Now is your chance to reveal your inventions. Write an advertisement that would be published in the newspaper, describing to the general public all of the positive uses electricity will have. Be creative!
  2. Develop a short story that could teach other kids about how the movement of electrons generates electricity. What kind of character would an electron be?


Ohm’s law describes the relationship among voltage (V), electrical current (I), and Electrical resistance (R) in a circuit: V = I x R, where voltage is measured in volts, current in amperes, and resistance in ohms. Suppose that Madison has a new flashlight that runs on one 9-volt battery. How much current flows through this circuit if the bulb has 3 ohms of resistance?