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Simple Circuits

Modified 2020-09-02 by Peyton Strong

Modified 5 days ago by Dev Ramesh

Student version


Hardware -

  • 9V Batteries

  • 9V Battery clips

  • Alligator clip leads (4 per student)

  • LEDs

  • Various Ohm Resistors

Previous lesson - N/A

Knowledge -

  • Introduction to the concepts of:

  • charge

  • voltage

  • current

  • resistance

Skills -

  • Ability to construct a simple DC circuit

Simple Circuits

STANDARDS: Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

Modified 2020-09-02 by Peyton Strong

ISTE 4. d.: Exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.

NGSS HS-PS3-5.: Develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction.

Assessments and Evidence of Understanding

Modified 2020-09-02 by Peyton Strong

By the end of this lesson, students should be able to construct a circuit with lighted LED, and with brightness that can be varied.

AGENDA (Brief Summary of Activities)

Modified 2020-09-02 by Peyton Strong

5 min: Hook with balloon example

15 min: Explaination of static and current electricity

30 min: Hands-on circuitry activity

10 min: Share-out on build process

Differentiation (strategies for grouping, ELL, and inclusion)

Modified 2020-06-28 by jakerad007

Activity recommended to be done in pairs. Teachers should pair students to support each others needs.

Advanced preparation/Materials/Set Up (Including Misconceptions)

Modified 2020-09-02 by Peyton Strong

Teacher materials

Balloons, teaching method for static and current electricity

Classroom Set Up

May be helpful to have materials already on students’ desks.


Modified 2020-04-16 by Garrett Warren

Introducing The Lesson

Modified 2020-09-02 by Peyton Strong


  • Teacher demonstrates the balloon static electricity experiment either on themselves or a student volunteer. Explain why the balloon sticks to the wall. (Teacher’s discretion to do the experiment in class, or simply review it).
  • The main purpose of this is to introduce electricity and how it interacts with objects in a classic experiment. This lesson will go deeper into transfering electricity purposefully through other means than a balloon.

Main Lesson

Modified 2020-09-02 by Peyton Strong

  • Use this image, or one of your own to compare electricity to water flowing through pipes using a pump.

  • Indroduce the topics of resistance and voltage.

  • Discuss how to get a current to move using different energy conversions (battery, generator, etc.).

  • If time, discuss how different materials conduct electricity differently (Conductors vs. Insulators).

Provide students with this diagram of the circuit, as well as the actual resources from the student book.

Warn students not to connect LED straight to battery without the resisitor in the circuit.)

Exercise: Let students trial and error their first build attempts. Ask students to try different resisitors, reverse the resistors, and reverse the LED and see what happens. Teacher should also show this video as an example of an LED burning out.

Ending The Lesson

Modified 6 days ago by jakerad007

Exercise: Group Discussion: Teacher leads discussion based on the following questions:

“What did you learn?”

“What affect did the resistors have? What happened when you reversed their order?” (Follow up with a brief description of polarity in circuits)

“Did anything go wrong?”

“What do you still want to know about circuits?”

Useful Resources and References

  1. Water Pipe Analogy

  2. Ohms Law Animation

  3. Static Electricity Balloon Resource -

  4. Circuit Image

  5. Glossary