National Grid Energy Education World - Energy-SMART! National Grid
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Build an electrical circuit experiment

In order for electricity to travel to where we need it, there must be a complete circuit of electricity. A complete circuit is like a circle. Electricity is produced at one place, travels around the circuit, and returns to the starting place.

battery & lightbulbElectricity that is produced in power plant generators travels along a circuit. The circuit goes from the generator to homes and businesses and back to the generator. You can build an electrical circuit of your own, using a battery as the electricity source instead of a power plant generator. Ask an adult to help you with this experiment. Print the page before you start.


Materials.

•A printed copy of this activity •Masking tape
•A pencil to write your answers •D-cell battery
•2 pieces of insulated wire with
1 inch stripped on each end
•A 1.2-volt light bulb
with matching base


Directions and Observations
1. Predict what will happen if you build a complete circuit from the battery to the light bulb and back again. Write down your prediction before you continue to step 2. My prediction is

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2. Use masking tape to connect one end of each wire to the light bulb base.

3. Tape one free wire end to each end of the battery. Was your prediction under step 1 correct? Circle YES or NO. If you circled NO, explain what was wrong with your prediction.

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Going Further
1. Predict what would happen if you added 10 or more light bulbs to this circuit. My prediction is ________________________________________________________________________________________


2. Watch as your teacher sets up a circuit with one battery and 11 light bulbs. Was your prediction under step 1 correct? Circle YES or NO. If you circled NO, explain what was wrong with your prediction.

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3. Suppose you wanted to build a circuit with 24 light bulbs. What adjustments would you have to make to be sure that all the bulbs would light up?

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