Everyday we are surrounded by circuits that use "in parallel" and "in series" circuitry. Complicated circuits designed by engineers are composed of many simpler parallel and series circuits. During this activity, students build a simple series circuit and discover the properties associated with series circuits.
This lab demonstrates Ohm's law as students set up simple circuits each composed of a battery, lamp and resistor. Students calculate the current flowing through the circuits they create by solving linear equations. After solving for the current, I, for each set resistance value, students plot the three points on a Cartesian plane and note the line that is formed. They also see the direct correlation between the amount of current flowing through the lamp and its brightness.
Students learn that charge movement through a circuit depends on the resistance and arrangement of the circuit components. In a hands-on activity, students build and investigate the characteristics of series circuits. In another activity, students design and build a flashlight.
Background: students are familiar with static electricity, charge, and sparks. They also know about conservation of energy, forms of energy including potential energy, power, and work. Students will complete a variety of activities using breadboards, which will display various types of circuits and their effect on the flow of electricity.