Education Standards

Physical Science: Introduction to Circuits (Lesson 1)

Physical Science:  Introduction to Circuits (Lesson 1)



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.

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Project Description

Name of ProjectIntroduction to Circuits
Subject AreaPhysical Science (High School)
Targeted StandardsPSc.3.3.2 “Explain simple series and parallel DC circuits in terms of Ohm’s Law”
Driving Question / Problem / ActivatorHow do we get electric charge and energy to move, and what can we do with them?
Project SummaryBackground:  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.Anticipation GuideIntroduction and Review (Make connections)PretestChallenge 1:  connect battery to bulb to make it light (initially provide a single wire; students find a second wire is required to complete the circuit)Challenge 2:  quickly open/close circuit; introduction of switchChallenge 3:  light more bulbs; provide additional bulbs and jumpers and encourage students to build series circuit and notice what happens (bulbs dim)Challenge 4:  find another way to hook up bulbs (parallel; bulbs remain bright)Challenge 5:  logic.  Placements of switch and consequences; simulate burned-out bulb (by removing from socket) and consequencesChallenge 6:  resistor.  Experiment with adding resistor in series and in parallel.Brief discussion:  draw out:  bulbs act like resistors, or resistors act like bulbs that don’t light.Direct instruction:  representing circuits.  Symbols for battery, bulb, switch, resistorStudent work:  represent their series and parallel circuits, answer questions about brightness, switch placement, etc.Direct instruction:  Ohm’s Law and analyzing circuitsStudent work:  analyze their circuits to determine voltage, current, resistance at each bulb or resistor.Discussion:  which affects brightness more, current or voltage?Direct instruction:  Interpret voltage, current, resistance.  General concept of device.  Voltage as potential energy that can be converted to light, heat, work in devices.  Student work:  interpretive; descriptive.  Pose question:  resistor doesn’t produce light, sound, work.  What happens to the energy (voltage drop) that is used in a resistor?Introduce breadboard and LEDs (Note:  this step is important to future studies on waves).  Need to protect LEDs with resistors.  Give specs; have students calculate the resistance needed to protect the LEDs.Challenge:  build series and parallel circuits on breadboards using LEDs and switches.  Students must demonstrate that LEDs are protected with resistors in order to get batteries.Review (direct instruction): analyzing circuit for V, I, R.Student work:  sketch their circuits and calculate V, I, R values.  Demonstrate that voltages and currents are appropriate for LEDs.Challenge:  students choose a project and build it.  Have components and instructions available.Student work:  Worksheet practicing application of Ohm’s Law, practical questions about parallel, series, burned-out bulbs, complete circuits.Post test
Estimated Time2-3 class periods
Materials / Resources (including link to slideshow if available)Teacher InstructionsPretestPosttestBatteries, bulbs, sockets, jumpers, switchesBreadboards, leads, LEDs, resistors, small switchesDevices for creative projectsSlideshow in 3 parts with guided notes     -representing circuits     -Ohm’s Law     -interpretation of voltage, current, and resistanceWorksheets      -represent series & parallel circuits, answer questions     -simple Ohm’s Law problems and analyze circuit using Ohm’s Law     -interpret and describe V, I, R     -sketch breadboard circuits and analyze for V, I, R.  Demonstrate LED voltages are appropriate     -follow-up/review worksheet covering whole standard
TagsPhysical Science, electricity, power, electrical power, P=IV, Ohm’s Law, voltage, current, resistance, potential, potential energy, V=IR, circuit, series, parallel, resistor, battery, conservation of energy, energy conservation, energy transfer

Project Outline 

AskHow do we get electric charge and energy to move and what can we do with them?
Closure / Student Reflections 
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