What Is Electricity?

Electricity is a basic part of nature and it is one of our most widely used forms of energy. We get electricity, which is a secondary energy source, from the conversion of other sources of energy, like coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power and other natural sources, which are called primary sources. Years ago, many cities and towns were built alongside waterfalls (a primary source of mechanical energy) that turned water wheels to perform work. Before electricity generation began slightly over 100 years ago, houses were lit with kerosene lamps, food was cooled in iceboxes, and rooms were warmed by wood-burning or coal-burning stoves. Beginning with Benjamin Franklin's experiment with a kite one stormy night in Philadelphia, the principles of electricity gradually became understood. In the mid-1800s, everyone's life changed with the invention of the electric light bulb. The lightbulb's invention used electricity to bring indoor lighting to our homes.

Here's something you can do to see the importance of electricity. Take a walk through your school, house or apartment and write down all of the different appliances, devices and machines that use electricity. You'll be amazed at how many things we use every day that require electricity.