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Electric Circuits:


Christina Miller

Grade Level

I. Content and Standards:

S4.A.3.2.2: Use models to make observations to explain how systems
work (e.g., water cycle, Sun-Earth-Moon system).
S4.A.3.2.3: Use appropriate, simple modeling tools and techniques to
describe or illustrate a system (e.g., two cans and string to model a
communications system, terrarium to model an ecosystem).
S4.C.2.1.2: Describe the flow of energy through an object or system
(e.g., feeling radiant heat from a light bulb, eating food to get energy,
using a battery to light a bulb or run a fan).
S4.C.2.1.3: Recognize or illustrate simple direct current series and
parallel circuits composed of batteries, light bulbs (or other common
loads), wire, and on/off switches.
II. Prerequisites: Students will have a basic understanding of energy as it
was discussed in the previous class.
III. Instructional Objective:

Students will be able to explain how electric current flows in a circuit

Students will be able to wire a basic circuit
Students will be able to explain the difference between series and
parallel connections

IV. Instructional Procedures:

1. Introduce students to todays topic, tell them we will be expanding on
energy and learning about circuits (Domain 3a)
2. Define the electric circuit as a connection of two or more components
to form a closed loop (Domain 3a)
3. The closed loop is necessary to allow the electric current to flow from
one point of the voltage source to the other
Remember, a voltage is the electric potential between two
4. Circuit elements can be connected in either series or parallel
Series components are connect in line with each other.
i. They provide a single path for the current to flow.
ii. Therefore, they share the same current
iii. Components in series have the same current

iv. They divide the voltage among themselves

v. Components in series have different voltages
vi. The different voltages add up to the original total voltage
of the voltage source
Parallel components are connected side by side.
i. Each component provides a different path for the current to
ii. Components in parallel have different currents
iii. The different currents add up to the current in the voltage
iv. Components in parallel have the same voltage
5. Use the Christmas light example (Domain 3c). If one light goes out, do
they all go out? Does this mean the lights are series or parallel? (If they
all go out, its series, if not its parallel. If SOME go out, then its a
combination of series and parallel!)
6. Discuss other examples of electric circuits from the tiny
(microprocessors) to the large (the power lines).
Electric circuit inquiry (Domain 3c)
7. Hand out the materials
8. They are building simple circuits with batteries for the voltage sources
and small light bulbs for the components.
9. Be sure to help them connect the circuits (Domain 3e), as they
probably have never done so before
They connect the bulbs in both series and then parallel
As the students perform the experiments, stress the closed loop
idea in the circuits, as well as the basic definitions of electricity.
What is the battery doing? (Domain 3b)
Where is the current flowing? (Domain 3b)
After students complete the series and parallel circuits, allow
them to work in groups (Domain 3c) to see how many different types of
circuits they can make with different configurations.
V. Materials and Equipment:

Circuit kits
o Batteries
o Wires
o Light

VI. Assessment/Evaluation: Class participation and discussion (Domain


VII. Accommodations or Modifications needed for students with

There should be no need for accommodations for this lesson. However if
needed, students will be read information needed, or given the appropriate
spellings for words. Extra time will also be given, if necessary.
VIII. Technology: No technology will be used for this lesson