Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Creating a Series Circuit

A series circuit has only one path for electricity to flow The bulbs are part of the circuit. They are connected one after another. The charges flow from the source (the battery), through the wires and each bulb then back to the source. If there is a switch, electricity also flows through the switch. If one bulb is broken, missing, or loose, then all the bulbs will not light.

Materials Needed
  • Safety glasses and gloves
  • D cell battery (1 or 2)
  • Wide elastic(s) or battery holder(s)
  • 3-4 insulated wires 
  • 2 bulbs
  • 2 bulb holders
  • switch and extra wire (optional)
  • extra bulbs, bulb holders, and wires (optional)
With adult supervision, have each students put on a pair of safety glasses and safety gloves and create a series circuit. Remember the circuit needs to be one complete loop.  Before making the circuit, have them PREDICT what will happen to the other bulb(s) if one bulb goes out.

After creating the series circuit with 2 or more bulbs, they should carefully loosen or remove 1 bulb and OBSERVE what  happens to the other bulb(s). Was their prediction correct? Why?

After the activity, students should sketch pictures of the activity in their science notebook and older students should explain how a series circuit works and what could prevent it from working.

Students can also try the activity with an extra bulb, bulb holder, and wire. They could also add a switch and an extra wire to the circuit. Before adding each new item, they should predict how they think it will affect the circuit.

A previous post (Creating an Electric Circuit) suggests different places where you can purchase the materials needed for this activity.

Have fun with Science!

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