Lesson Plan: A Lazy Electron Wake-up Call around Series-Parallel Circuits

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Deb Hall

Title: A Lazy Electron Wake-up Call around Series-Parallel Circuits

Class: EET 1214C Introduction to Engineering Technology

Introduction: I selected this particular topic because many of my students seem to find measuring current within a circuit to be most challenging. I think that these tools might help engage my audience because it will capture their attention and may help them to better visualize how to “bust open their circuits” to measure the flow of electrons a.k.a. current!

Video: I plan to start the lesson with a short clip (49:37-53:06) from the movie “MindWalk” that showcases a creative way to visualize atoms and electrons. Click on the image below which takes you to this movie in YouTube. There you can slide the cursor until you get to approximately 49:37 to begin the movie clip:


Infographics: As we continue our classroom discussion on measuring current, I am going to share the following infographics that compares a series circuit to a parallel circuit to a series-parallel circuit:

series circuit and parallel circuit.jpg


Interactive Engagement Strategy: Once we begin discussing series-parallel circuits in detail, I plan to project a live webcam image on the whiteboard of a series-parallel circuit being built on a breadboard trainer in our EET lab classroom. Then I plan to distribute three post-it notes to each of my students and will ask them to make their three post-it notes look like the following:

post-it note ammeter activity

Each student can now stick their “+” and “-” post-it notes on either side of their “Ammeter” post-it note to form their very own virtual Ammeter in order to measure current. I will then ask individual students to approach the white board with their virtual Ammeter in order to bust open the series-parallel circuit in various locations to measure the following currents: total current, the current that flows through resistor 1, the current that flows through resistor 2, and the current that flows through resistor 3.

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