CSCOPE Electric Circuits

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CSCOPE Science lessons have many errors. They are being listed so parents know what their children are being taught.These bloopers come from CSCOPE lessons that may have been taught to your children.

The  elementary electricity TEKS requires 5th grade students to know the difference between open and closed electric circuits. The diagram shown comes from a CSCOPE elementary lesson. The diagram is placed in a circle with a slash to make sure those viewing this page know that the diagram is incorrect.

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An incorrect CSCOPE elementary closed circuit electronic diagram.

What’s Wrong With the CSCOPE Diagram?

The wire leading from the battery only touch the bottom of the light bulbs. In order for a light bulb to glow, electricity must flow into the bulb, through the wire inside (the filament), and then out of the bulb and back to the battery.

Another problem with the CSCOPE diagram is that it shows three light bulbs in a series. Series circuit are not introduced in elementary school.

A fifth grade electric circuit lesson would have a diagram as shown below. The correct method of attaching the blub, wire, and battery is shown as a picture diagram and a symbol diagram. Showing these diagram to students, allows them to compare and identify electric symbols for a light bulb, wire, and battery.

CSCOPE lists the correct TEKS, but does not provide correct lessons to clarify the TEKS. Providing incorrect TEKS clarifications voids CSCOPE’s claim to be aligned with the state standards called TEKS.


A picture diagram and a symbol diagram for a closed electric circuit containing a bulb, wire, and single cell battery.

Fifth grade students are to also know how to connect the bulb, wire, and battery to form an open circuit.

In a closed circuit, the light will glow because an electric current flows from the battery, through the wire to the bulb and back to the battery through the wire.

In an open circuit, there is a break somewhere in the circuit. In the diagram a break is shown in the wire connected to the negative end of the battery. The ends of the battery are called terminals

A picture diagram and a symbol diagram of an open electric circuit.

A switch can be added to the list of materials. It doesn’t matter where in the circuit the switch is connected. When the switch is closed, an electric current flows through the circuit, thus it is a closed circuit.

When the switch is open, no electric current flows, thus it is an open circuit.

Instead of the simplified open and closed circuit diagrams, CSCOPE gives kids  a copy of incorrect picture diagrams for series and parallel circuits, which are not part of elementary science TEKS. Maybe this article will encourage CSCOPE to at least consider age appropriate activities until our legislatures make changes to remove CSCOPE from our schools. CSCOPE is not fixable.

Symbol diagrams of an open and closed circuit with a switch.



The following 5th grade electric circuit  worksheet was presented to the State Board of Education during the Nov. 15, 2012 special education committee meeting about CSCOPE.

CSCOPE directors take fast action when lessons like this are made public.  CSCOPE directors claim to make corrections in response to teacher comments.

If so, why are there so many errors in the CSCOPE lessons?

If so, why is an outside company making the first evaluation of the CSCOPE science lessons–BTW–the company did remove the following electric circuit worksheet. Teachers will have to check their science lessons often, since they were edited in Dec. 2012 and who knows how long it will take to check K-12 science lessons.

The worksheet shown would make a great worksheet for high school physics. Kids could not only correct the diagrams but fix the descriptions as well.

How Parents Can Help Improve Education 

Ask for copies of CSCOPE lessons and all handouts. Report the errors you find and they will be posted on this website. CSCOPE makes changes in lessons when they are made public.

Ask your children to start looking for errors in the lessons. Also request a text book to compare the CSCOPE lessons to. Don’t believe anyone that says outdated science text books do not have valuable information.

Stop your schools from getting rid of science and math text books. The books are written for the age of your children. CSCOPE has promoted schools not to use text books –instead incorrect content–misleading–CSCOPE lessons are  what your children will learn.

With all the errors after six years of online publication, CSCOPE is being very successful in providing equal education for all Texas children–the sad thing is that the education bar set by CSCOPE is horizontal and low.

Following is the CSCOPE electicity worksheet for 5th grade that was reported as being incorrect to the SBOE Nov. 15, 2012. While there have been changes made to this CSCOPE lessons, this worksheet is still the primary focus of the lesson (Jan. 18, 2013). Fifth unit 4 lesson 2.

CSCOPE science lessons have many errors. CSCOPE needs to promote science books.



Energy is all around us in many different forms and used in many different ways. Prior to Grade 5, students have investigated forms of energy including mechanical, sound, electrical, light, and heat/thermal energy. When studying electrical energy, students explored electrical circuits and discovered that a complete circuit is necessary for electrical energy to flow. During this lesson, students will be expected to demonstrate the need for a complete circuit in order to produce heat, light, or sound. In this lesson, students will also investigate further how the various forms of energy are useful in our everyday lives. [Students should have the opportunity to investigate series and parallel circuits and discuss these circuits in terms of complete (closed or working) and incomplete (open or broken).] This is not Age Appropriate.

5.6 Force, motion, and energy.. The student knows that energy occurs in many forms and can be observed in cycles, patterns, and systems. The student is expected to:
5.6A Explore the uses of energy, including mechanical, light, thermal, electrical, and sound energy.
Readiness Standard
5.6B Demonstrate that the flow of electricity in circuits requires a complete path through which an electric current can pass and can produce light, heat, and sound.
Readiness Standard



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  1. […] 1.18.13 – “CSCOPE Science Lesson – Discredited, Error-Filled” – by Janice Van Cleave – […]

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