# VANDERBILT STUDENT VOLUNTEERS FOR SCIENCE Electrical Circuits VINSE/VSVS Rural

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1 VANDERBILT STUDENT VOLUNTEERS FOR SCIENCE Electrical Circuits VINSE/VSVS Rural Series and Parallel Circuits (Adapted from Student Guide for Electric Snap Circuits by Elenco Electronic Inc.) Acknowledgement: We want to thank NASA and the Tennessee Space Consortium for funds to purchase the electric circuit kits. Goal: To learn about series and parallel circuits and their properties through the use of Elenco Snap Circuit kits. Fits Tennessee standards VSVSer Lesson Outline I. Introduction Discuss electric circuits (series and parallel circuits) and write the vocabulary on the board. Discuss electrical energy conversions illustrated by a hand generator. Show students the Energy stick and how to complete a human circuit. II. Activity Making a Simple Circuit Students work in pairs and build a simple III. Activity Using a Switch Students place a switch in the circuit in part II. IV. Activity Measuring Current Students test the simple circuit with a meter. Students replace the bulb with an LED and observe that it uses less current. V. Activity Building Series and Parallel Circuits One pair of students in the group builds a series circuit while the other pair builds a parallel Then they compare brightness of bulbs and current measurements to see what happens when one light is unscrewed in each After they have finished, students review series and parallel circuits. VI. Optional - 2 pairs of students make parallel circuits using more than 2 light bulbs, with the meter in the Students unscrew a bulb, one at a time and record current measurements. Students understand the need to conserve electrical energy. _VII Discussion Review the results of the lesson and the vocabulary words. LOOK AT THE VIDEO BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO YOUR CLASSROOM USE THE PPT AND VIDEO TO VISUALIZE THE MATERIALS USED IN EACH SECTION. Materials 16 ziploc bags containing materials for assembling series and parallel circuits (1 board, 2 #1 snaps, 2 #3 snaps, 2 bulb holders, 1 LED bulb in holder,1 switch, 1 battery holder, 1 M5 meter) 1 binder containing: 1 training presentation 16 sets of Instruction Sheets

2 1 observation sheet 1 answer sheet (yellow) 1 Extra bag of 5 light bulbs 1 Extra bag of 5 batteries 5 hand held generators 4 energy sticks Unpacking the Kit What you will need for each section:: VSVSers do this while 1 person is giving the Introduction. Important Note: Divide students into groups of four so that there are 7 groups. There are fourteen sets of materials for pairs of students within groups to do the activities. Students will be working in pairs, so that one pair of the group will build the series circuit while the other pair of the group builds the parallel This will allow them to look at both circuits to see the difference in brightness of bulbs and meter measurements. For Part I. Introduction 4 Energy Sticks in SEPARATE plastic bags, 5 hand generators, 1 bulb For Parts II, III and IV Activities 14 ziploc bags containing circuit boards and materials, 14 sets of instruction sheets for building simple, series, and parallel circuits 30 observation sheets. Students have their own pencils. For Parts V. Activity: Building Series and Parallel Circuits Same as above, with Extra circuit for Demonstration For Parts VI. I. Introduction Learning Goals: Students differentiate between static and current electricity. Students understand that electrons can flow only if the circuit is complete. Why is the science in this lesson important? Computer engineers are largely responsible for developing computer chips and circuit boards that are found in all of our technology. These chips and boards are made of complex electrical circuits just like the ones the students learn about in this lesson. Scientist are developing robotic exoskeletons the circuits in the machinery are responsible for the sensors and motors that strengthen the wearer. Do not hand out materials until you have discussed the following background information. Write the following vocabulary words on the board: electricity, current, simple circuit, series circuit, parallel circuit, LED What is Electrical Energy? Electrical energy is the energy of electric charges. Ask students to tell you what they know about static electricity and current electricity:

3 Make sure the following is included in the responses: There are 2 types of electricity, static and current. Static electricity is the build-up of electrical charge. It does not flow. It can make your hair stand on end, or zap you when it is discharged. Lightning is an excellent example of static electricity being discharged. Current electricity is moving electrical charge, (electrons). It moves as a result of electric charge build-up. Current electricity flows through a Ask students: Where does Electrical Energy come from? Examples should include power plants, batteries, photocells, thermocouples, generators, Show students the hand generator and tell them to look at the diagram on their observation sheet. Rotate the handle to activate it. Emphasize that there are NO batteries in the generator. Ask students what energy conversions are taking place in this device. Have them circle all the conversions on their observation sheet. How can electrical energy be stored? Show students a battery. A battery supplies energy to an electric circuit by converting chemical energy to electric potential energy. Chemical reactions provide the energy that causes the electrons to flow in a The electrons can flow only if the circuit is complete. 1. Show students one of the Energy sticks. Put a hand on each of the foil ends of the Energy Stick. The stick will flash lights and buzz. 2. Tell students that the stick is activated only when an electrical circuit has been completed. 3. Remove one hand to show the students that the stick no longer flashes or buzzes. The Energy Stick contains a small battery, and has a circuit that is highly sensitive. It can detect very small amounts of electricity that travel through the moisture on your skin. 4. Now have 2 or more VSVS members form a connected circle (by holding hands). Have 2 VSVSers each hold the foil at the opposite ends of the stick to complete a human chain of electricity. Show them a human switch by having one member drop a hand and break the circle, and then rejoin. 5. Tell students to look at their Observation sheet and ask them if they can name some energy conversions when the stick is activated. Tell them to circle the correct answers chemical to electrical (battery to electrical) and the electrical to sound and light. 6. If time permits at the end of the lesson, see how many students can form a circle and activate the Energy stick. Or do this with smaller groups and a VSVS member. Tell students they will be following diagrams on their instruction sheets to build a simple IIA. Activity: Making a Simple Circuit Learning Goals: Students understand how electrons flow through a Materials 14 ziploc bags containing materials for series or parallel circuits

4 14 sets of instruction sheets for building simple, series, and parallel circuits 30 observation sheets 1) Hand out one bag containing circuit materials to each pair. 2) Tell the students to look at the grid and its components, and compare it with Diagram #1 on their Instruction sheets. Tell them they will need to replace the components in the same way when they are finished Diagram #1 with the activities. 3) Tell the students that the snap circuits we will use today contain flattened wires. Tell them to remove one of the #3 connectors and look at its underside. Point out the flattened wire connecting the two snaps. This wire carries the electrical current. 4) Review the correct way to unscrew a light bulb demonstrate the righty tighty, lefty loosey concept. 5) Have all pairs of students follow Diagram #2 to build the simple circuit on their board. 6) Tell them not to connect one of the #3 snaps until they are told to do so. 7) Ask the students if the circuit is complete. No. 8) How can they tell? The light bulb does not come on. No electrical flow Diagram 2 9) What does it take to complete the circuit? Connect the last snap, as seen in Diagram #2 10) Tell the students to do this, and to note that the bulb now glows. 11) This is called a closed Once the circuit is closed, electrons can flow through the 12) Ask the students which way the electricity is flowing. Electrons flow from the negative end (the flat end of a battery) to the positive end (the end with the knob ). 13) Ask the students: What happens if you unscrew the light bulb? The light goes out because the circuit has been broken. III. Activity: Using a Switch Learning Goals: Students understand how electrons flow through a 1. Tell the students to replace one of the #3 snaps with the switch (Diagram #3). 2. Sliding the switch to the on position is the same as completing the circuit the light bulb then glows. Sliding the switch to the off position is the same as breaking the circuit the light bulb no longer glows. Tell the students this is a simple way to control flow through the Diagram 3. Simple Circuit 3. Tell students to look at the diagram of the simple circuit on their observation sheet and point out the relationship between the symbols and the electrical parts.

5 IV. Activity: Measuring Current Learning Goals: Students understand how electrons flow through a 1. Show the students the meter and tell them it can measure both current and voltage. Briefly explain that voltage is a measure of electrical potential energy between two points. Explain that voltage is measured in volts and current is measured in amperes. 2. Show the students that the meter has 3 positions. Move switch to: You are measuring: You read the scale located at: All the way to the left (the 5V setting) Voltage (V) Upper scale reads between 0-5 volts All the way to the right (the 1A setting) Current (A) Upper scale reads between 0-5 amps) In the middle (1mA setting) Very small current Lower. Reads in milliamps 3. Measuring Current: Tell the students: 1. That the meter must be in the circuit for it to be able to measure current. 2. Move the switch to the 1A setting. 3. Look at Diagram #4 on the Instruction sheet. Remove the remaining #3 snap and replace it with the meter, as shown. Diagram # 4 4. Turn the switch on and measure the current in amps (A). 5. Touch the light bulb and determine if the bulb feels warmer than its surroundings. 6. Record your observations and measurements in Part A on the Observation sheet. 7. Remove the snap containing the light bulb and replace it with the snap containing the LED. 8. Repeat steps 4-6. Ask students: Which light bulb saves electrical energy? How do you know? Which light bulb would be more useful for keeping cooler temperatures in the house? What energy conversions are taking place? Answers should include: 1. Electrical to Light. 2. Electrical to thermal (feel the light bulb while the circuit is closed). V. Activity: Building Series and Parallel Circuits Learning Goals: Students model energy flow and energy conversions in series and parallel circuits. Series and Parallel Circuits Tell students that there are two ways that a circuit can be connected: series and parallel.

6 The difference between the two is how their parts are connected Each has properties that are unique to it. A normal circuit may have both series and parallel elements.. The behavior of light bulbs in a circuit can be used to observe the differences between the types of circuits. Diagram 5 Diagram 6 The instruction sheet also includes some questions under the diagrams for the series and parallel circuits to guide their observations of the difference between the two circuits. 1. Tell one pair in the group to build the series circuit (Diagram #5) while the other pair of the group builds the parallel circuit (Diagram #6) - point out that a #1 connector is placed on top of lamp holder on the left before a #3 is used to connect to the switch). 2. Tell the pairs within the group to compare the brightness of the bulbs in the two different circuits. 3. Measure the current flowing and record the data in Part B on the observation sheet. Note: Students will observe the lights are dimmer in the series circuit but not in the parallel They will observe that the current in the series circuit is less that that in the parallel See Answer Sheet. 4. Tell the pairs within the group to show each other what happens when the one bulb is unscrewed. 5. Point out the relationship between the symbols and the electrical parts. Note: Students will observe the other bulb goes out in the series circuit but not in the parallel (See Answer Sheet.) Tell students to respond to the questions in Section B on the observation sheet for the circuits they have just tested. Demonstration: One VSVS team member should take the demonstration simple circuit bag out, screw in the light bulb, and connect #3 snap to complete the simple circuit (from IIA). Go around the room and show them the bulb brightness in the simple circuit so they can compare brightness to that as well. (It s the same as the parallel ) If students are curious, help them to set up the parallel circuit as in Diagram #7 and measure the current going through only 1 bulb in the parallel It is about the same current as in the simple Diagram #7 VI. Optional: Saving Electricity Allow the 2 pairs of students make parallel circuits using more than 2 light bulbs, with the meter in the

7 Unscrew a bulb, one at a time and record current measurements. Explain to students that this is the equivalent to turning off a light. Electrical power is directly related to current used. The lower the current used, the less electrical power used. While new technologies (such as solar power, wind power, LED lights ) can help reduce dependence on fossil fuels to generate electrical power, it is also important to conserve electrical energy by turning off appliances such as lights, heaters etc that are not being used. VII. Discussion of Series and Parallel Circuits Learning Goals: Students model energy flow and energy conversions in series and parallel circuits. After students have finished responding to the questions about the series and parallel circuits they built, take a few minutes to review the differences that they observed. Make sure to include the following in your discussion: A series circuit only has one pathway for the electric current a break in the circuit stops all flow of electric current. A parallel circuit has multiple pathways for the electric current to travel o a break in one pathway will still allow the current to go through the other pathways. Review the responses for what happened with the light bulbs in their series and parallel circuits in terms of these concepts. Lesson modifications by: Dr. Mel Joesten, Professor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University Pat Tellinghuisen, VSVS Program Coordinator, Vanderbilt University Matt Majeika, NSF Undergraduate Teaching Fellow, Vanderbilt University By Matt Jackson, NSF Undergraduate Teaching Fellow, Vanderbilt University and David Harris, VSVS Co-President, Spring 2010

8 Electric Circuits Observation Sheet Name 2 1.5V batteries Wire Introduction Hand Generator Circle the energy conversions that occur when the hand generator is activated. chemical to electrical Lamp DC Motor Gears mechanical to nuclear mechanical to sound mechanical to electrical to light mechanical to electrical Holding Handle Energy Stick Circle the energy conversions when the stick is activated. chemical to electrical chemical to nuclear electrical to sound electrical to light electrical to mechanical A. Current Measurements Current in the Simple Circuit with regular light bulb Current in the Simple Circuit with LED Which light bulb is warmer regular or LED? Crank Handle Which light bulb saves electrical energy? How do you know? Which light bulb would be more useful for keeping cooler temperatures in the house? Current in the Series Circuit with regular light bulbs Current in the Parallel Circuit with regular light bulbs B Series and Parallel Circuits Circle your answer. 1. The light bulbs in the series circuit were (brighter, dimmer, the same brightness) as those in the parallel 2. When one light bulb was unscrewed, the other light went out in the (series, parallel) 3. When one light bulb was unscrewed, the other light remained on in the (series, parallel) 4. The light bulb in the simple circuit was (brighter, dimmer, the same brightness) as the light bulb in the parallel

9 Observation Sheet Answers Electric Circuits Introduction Hand Generator Circle the energy conversions that occur when the hand generator is activated. chemical to electrical mechanical to nuclear mechanical to sound mechanical to electrical to light mechanical to electrical Energy Stick Circle the energy conversions when the stick is activated. chemical to electrical chemical to nuclear electrical to sound electrical to light electrical to mechanical B. Current Measurements Current in the Simple Circuit with regular light bulb Current in the Simple Circuit with LED Which light bulb is warmer regular or LED? Which light bulb saves electrical energy? How do you know? ~1.2 A ~.5 A Regular LED Which light bulb would be more useful for keeping cooler temperatures in the house? LED Current in the Series Circuit with 2 regular light bulbs Current in the Parallel Circuit with 2 regular light bulbs ~1 A ~2.5 A A. Series and Parallel Circuits Circle your answer. 1. The light bulbs in the series circuit were (brighter, dimmer, the same brightness) as those in the parallel 2. When one light bulb was unscrewed, the other light went out in the (series, parallel) 3. When one light bulb was unscrewed, the other light remained on in the (series, parallel) 4. The light bulb in the simple circuit was (brighter, dimmer, the same brightness) as the light in the parallel

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