Simple DC Circuits and a Light Bulb –

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This summer Valencia is going to host a STEM camp for high school seniors, and we are going to have 24 students visiting different science labs at West Campus during two days. I may use some portion of this “sample lesson” for the physics portion of the STEM camp.

I will start with projecting a large image of a light bulb and announcing that we are going to learn how to built a simple DC circuit and make a light bulb shine.
081209-light-bulb-03.grid-4x2

I am going to divide the students on 6 groups of 4 (aligning them by height and then grouping as 1, 2 -23, 24; 3,4 – 21, 22; etc.) and sit them in front of their computer stations. Then I am going to show a short video explaining principles of electric circuits:
Explaining Electric Circuit

After watching the video, we will talk about basic elements of circuits: battery, resistors, wires, switches, and light bulbs. Then each group of students will be given an “assignment” to “build a circuit” using PHET simulation “AC-Virtual-Lab”.

PHET Virtual AC/DC Lab
circuit

The task will be to connect three light bulbs to a battery three different ways to make them shine brighter or dimmer. If necessary, the instructor and TAs will help. After completion the “construction of the circuits”, the groups will be asked a number of multiple-choice conceptual questions related to simple dc circuits they just constructed.
Each group will be given a set of paper answer card (“A”, “B”, “C”, “D”), and each student in a group will be “representing” a particular answer card. If a group will decide that “A” is a correct answer, student representing “A” will stand up. The group with the highest score will be declared the winner.

Time permitting, we can also play “vocabulary match” using basic elements of the circuit.
Vocabulary Match

One Response to “Simple DC Circuits and a Light Bulb –”

  1. Raquel

    Hello Mrs. Hamman’s Class,Considering how important cuiicrts are to our everyday modern life, their study is interesting. So many things we use during our day involve electrical cuiicrts.If we look at a circuit with little resistance, the electrical flow moves freely. Introduce something with a higher resistance and we can produce light and heat. A light bulb lights because of the resistance in the filament. The result is heat and light.The same happens in an electric heater. In this circuit’s case, there is light given off but the main reaction wanted is the heat.When Thomas Edison was experimenting with resistance causing light, he tried a number of materials as a filament. Those that worked well would often burn out too quickly because of heat. He came up with the idea of pumping air out of a container so the filament wouldn’t have oxygen to accelerate burning of the filament.Can you imagine how different the world might have been had the problems with resistance, light and heat not been solved?Ross Mannell (teacher)NSW, Australia

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