Make a Simple Electric Circuit
Introduction: (Initial Observation)
A simple electric circuit is a circuit made of a battery, a resistor and a switch connected to each other by wire in series. A resistor is any device (such as light-bulb or an electric motor) that consumes electricity. A Simple Electric Circuit is a complete loop in which the flow of electrons (or electricity) from the battery travel trough the wire and pass trough the switch, the resistor and return back to the battery from its other end. In this project you will make and demonstrate a simple electric circuit. You will learn about electrical conductors (such as wires and metals), insulators (such as plastic coating on the wire) and the concept of electrical circuits. Combine the joy and excitement of making educational toys with your science project by constructing a simple electric circuit you may use as a night light. This is a good way of learning about simple electric circuits.
Find out about Simple Electric Circuits. Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about the role or function of each element in your circuit. Keep track of where you got your information from. Following are samples of information you may gather: VOCABULARY
- circuit a closed loop of conductors through which charges (flow of electrons) can flow
- conductor a substance through which electrical charges can easily flow
- current a flow of electrical charges
- generator a device for producing electrical current by moving a coil of wire in a magnetic field
- insulator a material through which electric charges cannot move
- ion an atom that has gained or lost one or more electrons and is thus a charged particle
- switch a device that closes or opens a circuit, thereby allowing or preventing current flow
- voltage the pressure behind the flow of electrons in a circuit
- electron one negative electrical charge. Electrons exist in all materials, but can only flow freely in metals.
WHAT IS ELECTRIC CURRENT? An electric current is a flow of microscopic particles called ELECTRONS flowing through wires and electronic components.
It can be likened to the flow of water through pipes and radiators, etc.
As water is pushed through pipes by a pump, electric current is pushed through wires by a battery.
Hot water does work by heating radiators.
Electric current does work by heating fires, lighting lamps, ringing bells, electroplating, etc.
A basic law of the universe is that like charges repel and unlike attract. Two negatives will repel each other. A negative and a positive will attract each other.
An electron has a negative charge.
The negative (-) terminal of a battery will push negative electrons along a wire.
The positive (+) terminal of a battery will attract negative electrons along a wire.
Electric current will therefore flow from the – terminal of a battery, through the lamp, to the positive terminal.
What do you want to find out? Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your observations and questions to write the statement. The purpose of this project is to construct, test and demonstrate a simple electrical circuit. If you need to do an experimental project, then try one of the following projects:
- Can electricity produce heat?
- Identify conductors and insulators around you.
When you think you know what variables may be involved, think about ways to change one at a time. If you change more than one at a time, you will not know what variable is causing your observation. Sometimes variables are linked and work together to cause something. At first, try to choose variables that you think act independently of each other. This is not an experimental project, so you don’t need to define variables. If you need to do an experimental project, then try one of the following projects:
- Can electricity produce heat?
- Identify conductors and insulators around you.
Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess about what types of things affect the system you are working with. Identifying variables is necessary before you can make a hypothesis. This is not an experimental project, so you don’t need to propose a hypothesis. If you need to do an experimental project, then try one of the following projects:
- Can electricity produce heat?
- Identify conductors and insulators around you.
Design an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make a step-by-step list of what you will do to answer each question. This list is called an experimental procedure. For an experiment to give answers you can trust, it must have a “control.” A control is an additional experimental trial or run. It is a separate experiment, done exactly like the others. The only difference is that no experimental variables are changed. A control is a neutral “reference point” for comparison that allows you to see what changing a variable does by comparing it to not changing anything. Dependable controls are sometimes very hard to develop. They can be the hardest part of a project. Without a control you cannot be sure that changing the variable causes your observations. A series of experiments that includes a control is called a “controlled experiment.” Make a Simple Electric Circuit Introduction: A Simple Electric Circuit is a circuit including a power source (battery), a resistor (light bulb) and a switch connected to each other in series (meaning that wires connect the battery to the switch, the switch to the light bulb and the light bulb back to the other end of the battery). Connection of wires to the battery holder, switch and the lamp base are usually done using the screws or clips. You can use household tools such as a pair of scissors to cut the wire and remove the insulation from the contact points. You will also need a D size battery to power your circuit. Instructions: Use the picture bellow to see how you must mount the components on the board. Use small mounting screws to mount the battery holder, the switch and the lamp holder to the appropriate places on the board. A screw driver and assistance of an expert adult may be required. Loosen the contact screws (not mounting screws) on the lamp holder and on the switch to make them ready for connecting the wires. Cut 3 pieces of wire (any color) to 7″, 5″ and 4″. Remove the insulation from 1/2 inch of each end of the wires. To do that first make a cut on the plastic insulation all around the wire. Then pull the insulation out. Use the 7″ ling wire to connect the battery holder to the one of the contact screws on the lamp holder. Use the 5″ long wire to connect the remaining contact screw of the lamp holder to one of the screws on the switch Use the 4″ long wire to connect the remaining screw on the switch to the remaining clip of the battery holder. These pictures on the right show how you connect and secure the wire to the battery holder clips. Simply push the spring, insert the wire and then release the spring. (Handle the clips with care because they may come off with excess force) To connect the wires to the screws on the lamp holder or the switch, first bend the end of the wire like U shape and then hook them under the screw, and then tighten the screw. Warning: 1. No electrical contact will be made if you have not removed the insulation from the ends of the wire. 2. Do not use flame to remove the insulation. Doing this is dangerous and will blacken the ends of the wire. Test your circuit: Insert the battery, screw a light bulb into the lamp holder and close the switch. The light bulb must light up. If it does not check all the contacts and try again. You may also need to check the battery and the light bulb. The circuit or switch is open, The light is off. Simple Electric Circuit Opportunities for Science Projects
You may use your kit in relation to many different science projects. Construction of a simple electric circuit by itself may be used as a science project for many different grades. You may also use some color paper to make a nice lamp shade for it and use it as your night light. Some other students may need to use their completed circuit to do further research for their science project. Two common project ideas that use this kit are described in the two experiments bellow: Decorate your lamp: You may optionally make a lamp shade or a model house using thin color paper and place it on the lamp.
Materials and Equipment:
The materials you need for making a simple electric circuit are shown bellow. The above materials are available in the form of a kit at MiniScience.com. The product code is KITSEC and you can order it online.
Results of Experiment (Observation):
Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.
No calculations are required for this project; however, if you do any calculations, make sure to write them in this section of your report.
Summary of Results:
Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments. It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.
Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.
Related Questions & Answers:
What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested. Why don’t the birds get killed when they sit on high voltage electrical cables? This is a common question for those who know “most high voltage electrical cables have no insulation.”. The answer is simple. High voltage electricity can kill if it passes trough your body. When birds sit on the power cable, the electrical current cannot pass trough their body because no part of their body is touching the ground or any other wire. With the same token, someone wearing thick rubber shoes may touch a 110 volt electrical cable with one hand and stay safe; however, the same person may get electrocuted if he is touching a moist concrete wall or a water pipe with his other hand. For very high voltages such as 6000 volts, no insulation can protect us and we must stay at least 5 feet away from such high voltage cables. (That is why such cables don’t have any insulation on them).
If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically. If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.
List your references in this part of your report.
Simple Electric Circuit
||The Simple Electric Circuit will help you
to learn the basic concepts of electricity and electrical circuits. You
will experience and build a light circuit powered by a battery and
controlled by a switch. You will also learn about electrical conductors
and insulators.You may use your
kit in connection with your science project or you may just try it as an
educational activity or technology project.If you are doing a science project, you
will need additional materials to complete your project.
Check the content of your kit. The Simple Electric Circuit Kit includes:
- Wooden base to mount the circuit
- 2 Light Bulbs (1.2 Volt)
- 1 lamp holder
- 1 Battery holder (for D size battery)
- 1 Simple Switch (Known as knife
- Screws used to mount the
switch and the lamp holder
- Insulated solid copper wire (Gage 22)
- Adult Supervision is required (but not
Make a Simple Electric
Circuit Introduction: A Simple Electric Circuit is a circuit
including a power source (battery), a resistor (light bulb) and a switch
connected to each other in series (meaning that wires connect the battery to
the switch, the switch to the light bulb and the light bulb back to the
other end of the battery). Connection of wires to the battery holder,
switch and the lamp base are usually done using the screws or clips. You can use
household tools such as a pair of scissors to cut the wire and remove the
insulation from the contact points. You will also need a D size battery to
power your circuit. Instructions: Use the picture bellow to see how you must
mount the components on the board. Use small mounting screws to mount the
battery holder, the switch and the lamp holder to the appropriate places on
the board. A screw driver and assistance of an expert adult may be required.
|Loosen the contact screws (not
mounting screws) on the lamp holder and on the switch to make them
ready for connecting the wires.Cut 3 pieces of wire (any color) to
7″, 5″ and 4″.Remove the insulation from 1/2 inch
of each end of the wires. To do that first make a cut on the plastic
insulation all around the wire. Then pull the insulation out.Use the 7″ ling wire to connect the
battery holder to the one of the contact screws on the lamp holder. Use the 5″ long wire to connect the
remaining contact screw of the lamp holder to one of the screws on
the switch Use the 4″ long wire to connect the
remaining screw on the switch to the remaining clip of the battery
|These pictures on the right show how you connect and secure the wire
to the battery holder clips. Simply push the spring, insert the wire
and then release the spring. (Handle the clips with care because
they may come off with excess force)To connect the wires to the screws on
the lamp holder or the switch, first bend the end of the wire like U
shape and then hook them under the screw, and then tighten the
screw.Warning:1. No electrical contact will be
made if you have not removed the insulation from the ends of the
wire. 2. Do not use flame to remove the
insulation. Doing this is dangerous and will blacken the ends of the
Test your circuit: Insert the battery, screw a light bulb into
the lamp holder and close the switch. The light bulb must light up. If it
does not check all the contacts and try again. You may also need to check
the battery and the light bulb. Opportunities
for Science Projects
You may use your kit in relation to many different science projects.
Construction of a simple electric circuit by itself may be used as a science
project for many different grades. You may also use some color paper to make
a nice lamp shade for it and use it as your night light. Some other students
may need to use their completed circuit to do further research for their
science project. Two common project ideas that use this kit are:
- Can electricity create heat? To do
this project you will also need a thermometer to show that the light
bulb is getting hot.
- Identify conductors and insulators
around you. It is important to know what materials are conductive and
what materials are not. The test is simple. Open the switch and place
the object between the poles of the switch. If the light comes on, then
the object is conductive. You may try this with metals (coins, paper
clips, nails, etc.) and non-metals (glass, plastic, stone, wood, etc.)
These two experiments are described bellow: Experiment 1: Can electricity create
heat? Introduction: Electricity and heat
are two different types of energy. In physics we learn that energy cannot be
destroyed. It can only be converted to other types of energy. In this
project we intend to show that electrical energy can be converted to heat.
For this experiment you will use your simple electric circuit, a glass
thermometer and a clock that can show seconds. Procedure: Make sure the switch is open and the light
is off. Place the bulb of a glass thermometer on the top of your light bulb
and cover both with black electrical tape so that the light cannot leak out.
Let this sit at room for 10 minutes to make sure that everything is at room
temperature. Record the temperature shown on the thermometer, set your clock
and turn on the switch on the top of the hour. Read and record the
temperature every 60 seconds (one minute). Your data table may look like
Experiment 2: Identify conductors and
insulators around you. or What Materials are
Conductors of Electricity? Introduction: By learning about
conductors and insulators we can keep ourselves and our electrical equipment
safe. Every year thousands of children and adults around the world are
electrocuted because they did not use proper insulation while contacting
with electrical wires or equipment. So much loss of life is a clear signal
that every one must learn about electricity and safeguarding it by using
insulators. This experiment is a fundamental step toward such education. Procedure: Make sure the switch in
your simple electric circuit is open and the light is off. Then place
different objects between the poles of the switch one at a time. If placing
the object between the poles of the switch can close the circuit and the
light bulbs turns on, then the object is conductive. If the light does not
come on, then the object is an insulator. Some of the objects you may try
are: Coins, nails, gold and silver pieces, paper clips, safety pins, Pencil
and the pencil’s lead, rubber, wood, plastics, glass and aluminum foil. Your results table may look like this:
|Coin (US Quarter)|
Warning: The voltage (electrical
power) of a battery (also known as dry cell) is usually about 1.5 Volts.
When a material is insulator for 1.5 volt, it may be conductive for higher
voltages. Even air is conductive for high voltages. You must be more careful
as you start experimenting with higher voltages in future. Why don’t the birds get killed when they
sit on high voltage electrical cables? This is a common question for those who
know «most high voltage electrical cables have no insulation.». The answer
is simple. High voltage electricity can kill if it passes trough your body.
When birds sit on the power cable, the electrical current cannot pass trough
their body because no part of their body is touching the ground or any other
wire. With the same token, someone wearing thick rubber shoes may touch a
110 volt electrical cable with one hand and stay safe; however, the same
person may get electrocuted if he is touching a moist concrete wall or a
water pipe with his other hand. For very high voltages such as 6000 volts,
no insulation can protect us and we must stay at least 5 feet away from such
high voltage cables. (That is why such cables don’t have any insulation on
|If you do not have this kit or the
materials to complete your project, you can buy them online. Order
early so you can save on shipping charges.
An electrical circuit is a complete path which electrical energy can flow through. What is a circuit? What components are needed to make a circuit? What is the history of the circuit? What is a simple circuit board for kids? All these questions and more are answered below!
What is a Circuit for Kids
There are countless devices in our children’s lives that conduct electricity and somehow maintain this energy! Electricity can only flow around a complete circuit that has no gaps. Current electricity is the flow of electrical charge through materials. And how does electricity move throughout a device? Well, through circuits of course! A circuit is a device made of other, smaller electrical devices that can move the flow of electricity through itself to power larger devices. Every complete circuit must have a power supply. The power supply could be the mains, or it could be a battery. For a circuit to be complete, there must be wires connected to both the positive and negative ends of the power supply. A simple circuit can be made from a battery, a bulb and wires.
What is the History of the Circuit?
In the 1800s, a man called Alessandro Volta created the first-ever battery which could provide a continuous flow of current. This source for a flow of current made the very first circuits a possibility. Volta discovered that you could create a continuous flow of electricity by connecting bowls of salt solution with metal strips. Then he used discs of copper, zinc and cardboard that had been soaked in a salt solution to create the first battery, which was called the Voltaic Pile. The early uses for this new discovery were for circuits to provide electricity for lighting just before the bulb was invented by Thomas Edison.
What is Needed for a Complete Circuit?
- There is a power supply (the battery).
- There are no gaps anywhere, so the electrical current can flow around the entire circuit.
- The wires connect to both the positive and negative ends of the battery.
What causes an incomplete circuit?
- There is a gap in the circuit, so the electrical current cannot flow around it.
- The wires do not connect to the positive and negative ends of the power supply (the battery).
Series Circuits and Parallel Circuits
There are two main types of circuits: series and parallel circuits. In these simple circuit diagrams, the two lines represent a battery and the circle with a cross represents a bulb.
All of the current flows through each part of the circuit in a series circuit. All of the components are connected together one after another. If one of the components breaks or doesn’t work, then the whole circuit will not work. In a series circuit there is one single pathway through which the electricity flows. This means that the amount of current is the same at every point in a series circuit. However, the amount of current that flows through each device varies because, as more devices are added, the amount of current flowing through each device decreases. You can see this if you add more lights to a series circuit because each light will shine dimmer the more you add.
The current is divided into several paths in a parallel circuit. Each component in a parallel circuit is on a separate branch. One of the components, such as a bulb, can be switched on or off without affecting the others in a parallel circuit. There are different paths through which the electricity flows in a parallel circuit, so the amount of current is different at different points in the circuit. Each branch of a parallel circuit is separate from the last, so adding more bulbs does not affect the amount of current on each branch. This means that each light you add to a parallel circuit will shine as brightly as the others, as long as the bulbs are added on separate branches. If one of the bulbs in a parallel circuit breaks or stops working, the others will keep working.
Alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC)
There are two forms of electric power used by circuits. One is called alternating current (AC) and the other is called direct current (DC). AC is generated by power stations and usually powers large appliances, whereas DC powers battery-operated machines. Direct current means that electricity flows in a single direction from the positive to the negative terminals. DC always flows in the same direction. Alternating current is one that varies direction and magnitude (size) so the direction of the current is constantly being reversed back and forth. It is cheaper and easier to make electronic devices with AC power because the current can be increased and decreased very easily.
Simple circuit boards for kids
Almost all of the electronic devices we use today contain circuit boards. A circuit board is a base with electronic components attached. The base is made of a material that does not conduct electricity, such as fiberglass, so that a circuit can be built on top of this base. Electricity flows through the circuit but not the base. Copper is used to connect the components on the circuit board because it allows electricity to flow through it (copper is a good conductor). When a power source, like a battery, connects to the circuit board, electricity flows to each of the components on the circuit board. Circuit boards contain many different components that all have their own properties and serve different functions. Some of these components are: resistors, batteries, fuses and more. How many devices have you used today that contain circuit boards? Probably a few! Circuit boards are used in computers, mobile phones and TVs.
How can I teach children about circuits?
Circuits are taught to children during certain science lessons on electricity. The best tools to use to simplify electric circuits for kids to understand are circuit diagrams and simple circuit models! Circuit diagrams give an outline of the circuit in clear, precise terms that are easy to understand, and circuit models allow students to have tactile interaction with circuits, build some for themselves, and understand the significance of what a circuit is. Students can learn the various circuit diagram symbols so that they understand what each component of the circuit is and what it is used for. Students should also be prompted to draw their own circuit diagrams. It is important to explain to students the dangers of electricity when teaching this subject, as although small model circuits cannot harm a child, electric wires can still be dangerous. When explaining electric circuits for kids, be sure to explain in clear terms that electrical systems should not be used as a toy. The equipment that is needed for a common classroom circuit model includes wires with crocodile clip attachments on both ends, batteries and battery cases, a switch, a small light bulb, and a small motor. There are other additions to electrical circuit kits which can be included such as LEDs, transistors, resistors and capacitors. There are countless ways to teach your students about circuits, as mentioned above, but one of the best way to introduce the concepts in a way that feels hands on and is still safe for younger kids to do is through a super fun potato circuit experiment!
Circuit Activity for Kids
One of the most popular and safest circuit activities to do with your students is the Potato Lightbard Experiment! In a safe envoirnment away from open flames, prepare a potato, two pennies, some small copper wire, a small light bulb, and two zinc-plated nails. Help your students cut their potatoes in half, then make additional splits that can hold your two pennies. Then, have them take their pennies and (if not pre cut) snip their copper wire into three halves. Each penny will be wrapped with an individual piece of copper wire, leaving the third to be used to wrap one of the nails. Make sure you stick the wrapped pennies into the slits made for them! Once the nail is wrapped, stick it into one of the cut potatoes. Now, wrap one of the penny’s wires into the wire of the nail. Do the same with the remaining nail and the other penny and plug the nail into the other half of the potato. Once everything is connected, take the end of one of the wires and hold it to the light bulb to make it glow! There you go, you made a potato circuit with house hold items!
Circuit Video for Kids
Use this super entertaining and engaging video to teach your students even more about the power of circuits!
Resources to About Circuits for Kids
Twinkl is the place to be for when you’re struggling to think of your next lesson plan! Not only do we have countless science resources for you to choose from for your next science unit, but we also have amazing resources all about electricity and, of course, circuits! Here are some of our favorite circuit-related resources and activities for kids! Make a Circuit Activity PowerPoint If you need a super simple and super fun circuit experiment to do with your class, this Make a Circuit Activity PowerPoint is an excellent resource and presentation that will make all your dreams come true! With super engaging and easy instructions, beautiful illustrations and enlightening photography, this presentation will allow your class to easily create their own circuits to see how this process works! Labeling Electrical Circuits Activity Help your students discover the inner workings of electrical circuits with this Labeling Electrical Circuits Activity. Offering illustrated examples and a simple prompt, your students will go about correctly naming each part of the circuit to complete this assignment! This is a great acivity to use for busy work during your electricity units! Find the Problem With the Electrical Circuit Cards Want another activity to help your students discover the inner workings of circuits? This Find the Problem With the Electrical Circuit Cards offers prompts and illustrations that will have your students solving the issues apparent in the cards offered! this is a great resource to wake up your student’s problem solving skills and introduce the concepts of circuits in general!
- How to disinfect gardening tools
- How to make pour over coffee
- How to play brawlhalla
- How to look better than you already are
- How to clean parquet floors