Electric circuits and fields > circuits

This series of experiments enables students to gain confidence in setting up their own circuits. 

An extra wire can 'shed light on the problem'.

Many interesting circuits can be set up with switches in series and in parallel with components.

Circuit diagrams allow students to make simple records. They also allow teachers to give students summaries of their instructions.

An opportunity to measure the electric current and introduce the ampere unit. There is no need to define an ampere.

The fact that current is the same all round a series circuit may have been 'discovered' when using ammeters informally. It is so important that this activity may be needed to be reinforce it.

An introduction to what voltmeters measure and how they are connected in circuits.

An introduction to what voltmeters measure and how they are connected in circuits.

Experiments to show that current (and therefore charge) is conserved around a circuit. They can be teacher demonstrations or student revision experiments.

Shows that electrostatic charges are the same as the charges passing through wires and components in electric circuits.

Adding a shunt in parallel with a galvanometer converts it to an ammeter with a higher range. This is a trial and error method, not one involving calculations.

This experiment provides an excellent introduction to the concept of potential difference (voltage). Students observe that two lamps with the same current give out quite different amounts of light and this sets off a discussion.

Experimenting with a voltmeter leads to a discussion of the meaning of potential difference or voltage.

Current can be modelled by the flow of water; potential difference corresponds to water pressure.

A problem-solving activity, using the concept of resistance in the context of a concert sound system.

Introduces the idea of a variable resistor, or rheostat.

Introduces two ideas: current is shared between parallel paths in a circuit, and brightness of a lamp depends on current.