Electric Circuits

Ideas or Inquiries

Design a circuit and see what you can power up!

 

Vocabulary

Electricity— a form of energy resulting from the existence of charged particles (such as electrons or protons), either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current.

Circuit—a closed path through which an electric current flows or may flow.

Battery—a container consisting of one or more cells, in which chemical energy is converted into electricity and used as a source of power.

Energy—Measure of the ability of a body or system to do work or produce a change.

 

Supplies (per group)

  • 2x AA Battery Packs (3 volts total each) (RadioShack)
  • AA batteries
  • single lights (RadioShack)
  • mini light bulbs (RadioSchack)
  • 1.3-3.0 DC motors (RadioShack, Kelvin.com, found in Dollar Store electric toothbrushes)
  • buzzers (Jameco, RadioShack)
  • knife switches (Arbor Scientific, RadioShack)
  • DPDT toggle switches (RadioShack)
  • potentiometers (Jameco, RadioShack)
  • alligator clip wires (Jameco, RadioShack)

 

How-to

  1. Make sure all students have enough materials to work with. Each student (or group) should have at least a few battery packs, alligator wires, something to power (motor/lightbulb), and a few switches.
  2. Place materials around one or more communal tables or areas where students can easily collaborate.
  3. Instruct students that they will be making circuits and what a simple circuit requires (battery, wires, something to power) but allow them to make the discoveries how their circuit can expand.
  4. Facilitate student’s experience by closely observing their experience and asking what they want their circuit to do. If they get stuck, have them reflect on what they think they should do next.
  5. Have students share with their class their experiences: what worked, what didn’t work, and any discoveries that were made.  

 

Follow-up

  • There are many other components that can be included in your electric circuits. Try browsing websites like RadioShack or looking around your local hardware store for ideas and inspiration.
  • See if you can get the entire class to create one large circuit using as many materials you have available. 

 

Printable version, here.