Make a series circuit: activity

Teacher Notes

This and several other activities can be conducted using the Simple Circuits Kit:

  • construct a variety of series, parallel and mixed circuits on a convenient “breadboard” of plastic canvas, so the connections in the circuit are clear and the wires are well separated
  • observe the brightness of bulbs in the circuits
  • measure current through the circuit or branches in the circuit
  • measure voltage across resistors or batteries

Series Circuit activity - bulbs

Use the Simple Circuit kit for this activity.

Concepts

Understanding voltage and current in a series circuit
 

Materials

  • Plastic canvas
  • Two Christmas light bulbs with wires
  • A 6 V lantern battery
  • Two wires with alligator clips
  • A voltmeter or multimeter
  • A wire stripper


 

Directions

  1. Because this circuit has two bulbs, what factors do you think would be different from the single bulb circuit? In what way would these factors be different?
  2. Strip insulation off the ends of the wires. Weave the wires of the two light bulbs into the canvas, one next to the other, as shown in the picture above.
    Connect the wires between the bulbs to each other.
    Connect the two free wires to the battery. This is called a series circuit.
  3. Describe the brightness of the bulbs as compared to that in the single-bulb circuit.
  4. Describe the brightness of the bulbs as compared to that in the single-bulb circuit.
  5. Measure the voltage across each bulb: Bulb 1: ____V ; Bulb 2: ____V.
  6. How are the brightness and the bulb voltage related to each other in the one-bulb circuit and in the two-bulb series circuit?Series Circuit activity diagram
  7. How are the battery voltage and the bulb voltage related to each other in the one-bulb circuit and in the two-bulb series circuit?
  8. In the circuit diagram above, use a colored pencil and trace the path of the current in the circuit, starting from the negative (minus) of the battery. Draw arrows to show the path of the current.
  9. What do you think will happen if you removed one-bulb from this circuit?
  10. Try it. What happened?

 
 
Download this activity in PDF format
 
More activities from the Simple Circuits Module are available on the Exploring Physics CD.

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