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Series and Parallel Circuits Developed by IEEE as part of TryEngineering Series and Parallel Focus Demonstrate and discuss simple circuits and the differences between parallel and serial circuit design and functions.
Note: This lesson plan is designed for classroom use only, with supervision by a teacher familiar with electrical and electronic concepts.Lesson Synopsis
The Series and Parallel Circuits activity encourages students to test two different circuit designs through the use of low voltage light bulbs.
Students work in teams to predict the difference between the two circuit designs, and then build examples of the two different circuits using wires, bulbs, and batteries.
After testing several predictions about each circuit type, the groups will compare results and discuss findings.Age Levels 8-14.Objectives
Learn that different circuit designs result in different electrical behaviors.Learn about current flow and the operational differences between series and parallel circuits.Learn to predict outcomes and draw conclusions.
Learn about teamwork and working in groups.Anticipated Learner Outcomes As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:
parallel and series circuits circuits and current flow making and testing predictions teamwork
Students perform experiments using two different types of circuit arrangements: series and parallel circuits.
Students compare a set up of series and parallel bulbs, make predictions about how the circuit will function, record results, and discuss the circuits as a Series and Parallel Circuits Developed by IEEE as part of TryEngineering Resources/Materials Teacher Resource Documents (attached) Student Worksheet (attached) Student Resource Sheets (attached) Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks See attached curriculum alignment sheet.Internet Connections TryEngineering (www.tryengineering.org) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (www.nist.gov) Information about measurements and measurement uncertainty
.ITEA Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology National Science Education Standards () Recommended Reading DK Eyewitness Series: Electricity (ISBN: 0751361321) Make Cool Gadgets for Your Room by Amy Pinchuk and Teco Rodriques
(ISBN: 1894379128) My World of Science: Conductors and Insulators by Angela Royston (Heinemann Educational Books, ISBN: 0431137269) Optional Writing Activity
Write an essay (or paragraph depending on age) describing how replacing one light on a holiday string of bulbs with a "blinking" light would cause all the lights in the string to also blink?
Is this an example of a parallel or series circuit?
Why? Series and Parallel Circuits Developed by IEEE as part of TryEngineering For Teachers: Materials Student Resource Sheets Student Worksheet Notebooks Two set-ups for each group of students, each consisting of: 6 pieces of bell wire (6" each) with ends stripped Battery holder Socket Three or more 1.5 volt bulbs Size D batteries Procedure Review the definitions of series and parallel circuits with the class.
Use Student Reference Sheets for background information.
These may also be distributed as homework reading on the night prior to the activity.
Divide students into small groups of 3-4 students and distribute Student Worksheet and two set-ups (see materials above) to each group.Ask the groups to examine the schematic of a series circuit on the Student Worksheet and draw their own plan for a parallel circuit in the space provided.
Have each student group make a series and parallel circuit using batteries, wires, and bulbs.Once the circuits are complete, ask student groups to make predictions as to how the circuits will function if a light bulb is removed.
Also discuss whether the bulbs might burn brighter in one set up than another.
Students should record their predictions on the Student Worksheet.Have each student group test their predictions using their circuits, and compare their results to their predictions.
Bring the student groups together to discuss their findings.
Time Needed 45 Minutes Teachers may want to set up the series circuit before class and ask students to create the parallel circuit to save time.Teachers should consider distributing the student resource sheets as reading material/homework for the night before the activity will be conducted in class.Encourage students to compare all the circuits built by different student groups. Series and Parallel Circuits Developed by IEEE as part of TryEngineering Student Resource: Simple Circuit
A simple circuit consists of three elements: a source of electricity (battery), a path or conductor on which electricity flows (wire) and an electrical resistor (lamp) which is any device that requires electricity to operate.
The illustration below shows a simple circuit containing a battery, two wires, and a low voltage light bulb.
The flow of electricity is caused by excess electrons on the negative end of the battery flowing toward the positive end, or terminal, of the battery.
When the circuit is complete, electrons flow from the negative terminal through the wire conductor, then through the bulb (lighting it up), and finally back to the positive terminal - in a continual flow.The following is a schematic diagram of the simple circuit showing the electronic symbols for the battery, switch, and bulb. Series and Parallel Circuits Developed by IEEE as part of TryEngineering Student Resource: d Parallel Circuits? Series and parallel describes two different types of circuit arrangements.Each arrangement provides a different way for electricity to flow throughout a circuit.
Series Circuits In a series circuit, electricity has only one path on which to travel.
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