Learning about simple electrical circuits gives students some basic knowledge about electricity. This knowledge will enable them to more easily understand the complex circuits inside a computer. Computer circuits follow the same principles even if the components are not visible to the naked eye. The online lessons with readings, video demonstrations, and activities introduce students to:
The basics of electricity
Simple electrical circuits
Conductive and nonconductive materials
Huge electrical circuits at a hydro-electric power plant
Mechanical and nonmechanical switches (transistors)
AC and DC current
Students will work online with electrical circuits like the one shown in the figure below.
Goals and Objectives
Understand that an electrical current in a wire is a flow of electrons
Be able to construct a simple, working circuit
Understand conductivity of solids and how conductivity can be tested
Learn some of the terminology used in circuitry
Become familiar with the process of assembling and testing a variety of simple electrical circuits
Understand that an electrical current in a wire can be controlled (turned on and off) by a switch; the switch may be mechanical (with moving parts) or electronic (no moving parts)
Observe the action of a transistor in a simple circuit
Masking tape, aluminum foil, batteries, LED, or flashlight lightbulb (optional—used in Handout: Fun With Circuits)
Have students complete the online activities. Throughout the unit, facilitate the development of new vocabulary introduced in this unit. Encourage students to use the new terminology of circuits correctly in their discussions and written work.
Students who are not at the computer can work on supplemental lesson ideas and group activities
The following handouts can be used with this unit to enhance learning. Each handout is briefly described below. To see the actual handout, click the link "handout."
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