Discovering how a switch works: activity

Teacher Notes

Several concepts related to closed circuits and circuit elements can be investigated using our custom-made Puzzle Board kit. These activities are included in Unit 1. Introduction to Electricity of the Exploring Physics Curriculum App.

  • closed circuits (bulb-battery segment of Puzzle Board)
  • investigate conductors and insulators (bulb-battery segment of Puzzle Board)
  • investigate how a switch works (bulb-battery and switch segments of Puzzle Board)
  • investigate the directionality of current flow in a circuit (buzzer and battery segments of Puzzle Board)
  • investigate how the direction of current flow changes the behavior of certain circuit elements (motor and battery segments of Puzzle Board)
  • investigate “high-tech” circuit elements (battery and LED-photoresistor segments of Puzzle Board)
    This unique puzzle board, also functions as a convenient class-management tool.

Understanding how a switch works - Exploring Physics

A switch from the Puzzle Board Kit.

 Part 1. Bulbs and Switches Lab


Understanding the purpose of a switch


  • Puzzle board pieces that contain the bulb, batteries, and switch
  • Three wires with alligator clips on the ends

Understanding Switches - diagram


  1. Get the bulb to light using the battery, the switch, and the wires. Draw a picture on the right to show how you completed the circuit.
  2. What do you have to do to get the bulb to turn off?
  3. Why is it useful to have a switch in the circuit?
  4. How many contact points does a switch have? Identify them and mark them in the picture.
  5. What other important parts does the switch have?


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