# Holiday Light Series And Parallel Circuits (1)

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Holiday Light Series and Parallel CircuitsLesson FocusDemonstrate and discuss simple circuits and the differences between parallel and serialcircuit design and functions.Lesson SynopsisThe series and parallel circuits’ activity encourages students to test two different circuitdesigns through the use of low voltage light bulbs. Students work in teams to predict thedifference between the two circuit designs, and then build examples of the two differentcircuits using foil (as the wires), holiday lights, file folder, tape, brass brads, andbatteries.Objectives Learn that different circuit designs result in different electrical behaviors. Learn about current flow and the operational differences between series andparallel circuits. Learn to predict outcomes and draw conclusions. Learn about teamwork and working in groups.Anticipated OutcomesAs a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of: Parallel and Series Circuits Circuits and current flow Making and testing predictions TeamworkLesson ActivitiesStudents perform experiments using two different types of circuit arrangements: seriesand parallel circuits. Students compare a set-up of series and parallel bulbs, make

predictions about how the circuit will function, record results, and discuss the circuits as agroup.Materials Student Resource Sheets Student Worksheets Pencils Aluminum Foil cut into strips 3 Brass Brads Holiday Lights ( cut apart and score about a ¼” from the bottom of each lightto remove the plastic) Tape File Folder 9-Volt BatteryProcedure1. Review the definitions of series and parallel circuits with the class. Use StudentResource Sheets for background information.2. Divided students into small groups of 2 – 3 students and distribute Student worksheetand materials for each group.3. Ask the groups to examine the schematic of a series circuit on the Student Worksheetand draw their own plan for a series and parallel circuits in the space provided.4. Have each group test their lights on the battery to determine the positive and negativeends of the light.5. Have each group make a series circuit on one side of the file folder and a parallel circuiton the other side using aluminum foil for wires, 3 brass brads for the switch, tape, holidaylights, and a 9-Volt battery. Remind students to leave a space between the wires for theswitch and the battery.6. Once the circuits are complete, ask the groups to make predictions as to how thecircuits will function if the light bulb is removed. Also discuss whether the bulbs mightburn brighter in one set up than another. Students should record their predictions on thestudent worksheet.

7. Have the groups test their predictions using their circuits, and compare their results totheir predictions.8. Bring the groups together and discuss the findings.StandardsNext Generation Science StandardsEnergyStudents who demonstrate understanding can:4-PS3-4. Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energyfrom one form to anotherELAW.4.7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation ofdifferent aspects of a topic.W.4.8. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information fromprint and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list ofsources.

Series and Parallel CircuitsWhat is a Simple Circuit?v Simple CircuitA simple circuit consists of three elements: a source of electricity (battery), a path orconductor on which electricity flows (wire), and a electrical resistor (lamp) which is anydevice that requires electricity to operate. The illustration below shows a simple circuitcontaining a battery, two wires, and a low voltage light bulb. The flow of electricity iscaused by excess electrons on the negative end of the battery flowing toward the positiveend, or terminal, of the battery. When the circuit is complete, electrons flow from thenegative terminal through the wire conductor, then through the bulb (lighting it up), andfinally back to the positive terminal – in a continual flow.vSchematic Diagram of a Simple CircuitThe following is a schematic diagram of the simple circuit showing the electronic symbolsfor the battery, switch, and bulb.

Series and Parallel CircuitsWhat are Series and Parallel Circuits?Series and parallel describes two different types of circuit arrangements. Eacharrangement provides a different way for electricity to slow throughout a circuit.v Series CircuitsIn a series circuit, electricity has only one path on which to travel. In the example below,two bulbs are powered by a battery in a series circuit design. Electricity flows from thebattery to each bulb, one at a time, in the order they are wired to the circuit. In this case,because the electricity can only flow in one path, if one of the bulbs blew out, the otherbulb would not be able to light up because the flow of the electric current would have beeninterrupted. In the same way, if one bulb was unscrewed, the current flow to both bulbswould be interrupted.v Parallel CircuitsIn a parallel circuit, electricity has more than one path on which to travel. In the examplebelow, two bulbs are powered by a battery in a parallel circuit design. In this case, becausethe electricity can flow in more than one path, if one of the bulbs blew out, the other bulbwould still be able to light up because the flow of electricity to the broken bulb would notstop the flow of electricity to the good bulb. In the same way, if one bulb were unscrewed,it would not prevent the other bulb from lighting up.

v What About Resistance?The flow of electricity depends on how much resistance is in the circuit. In our examples,the bulbs provide resistance. In a series circuit, the resistance in the circuit equals thetotal resistance of all the bulbs. The more bulbs in the circuit the dimmer they will light.In a parallel circuit, there are multiple paths through which current can flow, so theresistance of the overall circuit is lower than it would be if only one path was available.The lower resistance means that the current will be higher and the bulbs will burnbrighter compared to the same number of bulbs arranged in a series circuit.

Holiday Light Series and Parallel CircuitsvInstructionsYou are the engineer! You need to design a system where one switch can turn on multiplelights! An example might be a string of holiday lights. Now, construct both a series circuitand a parallel circuit using aluminum foil as wires, holiday lights, 3 brass brads as theswitch, tape, file folder, and a 9-Volt battery. Below is an example of a series and parallelcircuit.Series CircuitParallel Circuit

Draw your own diagram below that illustrates how your Series Circuit will look:Draw your own diagram below that illustrates how your Parallel Circuit will look:

v Group Predictions:After you have constructed both a series and parallel circuit, make some predictions onthe following as a group:1. Do you think holiday lights are an example of parallel or series bulbs in a circuit?2. Do you think the bulbs in the parallel circuit or the series circuit will burn brighter?Explain why:3. If you remove a bulb in your parallel circuit, will the other bulb(s) still light? Explainwhy:4. If you remove a bulb in your series circuit, will the other bulb(s) still light? Explain why:

v Test and ResultsNow test your predictions for questions 2, 3 and 4 above. Then respond to the questionsbelow:1. Were your predictions about the brightness of the bulbs accurate? If not, whathappened that was different from what your group expected?2. Were your predications about what happened if a bulb was removed from the paralleland series circuits accurate? If not, what happened that was different from what yourgroup expected?

Holiday Light Series and Parallel Circuits Lesson Focus Demonstrate and discuss simple circuits and the differences between parallel and serial circuit design and functions. Lesson Synopsis The series and parallel circuits’ activity encourages students to test two different circuit designs through the use of low voltage light bulbs.

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