Stephen W. Ha - James Ward School 

Simple Circuitry and series circuit

Stephen W. Ha James Ward School
2701 S. Shields Ave.
(773) 534-9050


Note: This mini-teach is designed for a 3rd-grade or 4th-grade class.

(1) Explain the elements that are required to build a basic electrical

(2) Demonstrate and describe a series circuit.

Materials Needed:

A piece of 10-foot wire, a bag of candy, chalks, blackboard, work papers, and
five labels (battery, switch, and 3 light bulbs).


Brainstorming (approximate 5 minutes)
- Ask students what they know about an electrical circuit and what they need
in order to construct a basic electrical circuit. Then Write down all
responses on the board.

- Discuss all responses that are related to the topic of circuitry and lead
to the conclusion that a basic electrical circuit must contain a power source,
electrical wire, a switch, and a lighting device (a light bulb in this
specific lesson).

- Draw a simple circuitry on the board (use D.C. battery as power source) and
make sure students learn all symbols being used in a circuitry.

Activity (1) Let students know they are going to do an activity to help them understand what is a series circuit. Ask for five volunteers for the activity. (2) Tell the class the series circuit they are going to see will contain 5 components and each student will represent a component after I have put a label on each of them. The components are a battery, a switch, and 3 light bulbs. (3) Have the five volunteers facing the class and standing in a straight line across the room. The two being labeled battery and switch should stand on each end of the line in a way that, as students look at them, the person represents the battery should be on the left end and the person represents the switch should be on the right end. (4) Bring out a 10-foot wire and have each volunteer using his/her right hand hold the wire up. Then they will form a circle, i.e., the battery and the switch should be right by each other now. (5) Bring out a bag of cookies and tell the class that each cookie will represent the electrons in the current that are getting ready to move along with the current. (6) Give a piece of cookie to the battery. After he/she have eaten the cookie, he/she will grab the wire with his/her free hand. This means that the battery is full of charge now and the current is getting ready to move through the wire to the next component, as long as a closed path is present. (7) Then going clockwise I will ask the next component the question "Would you eat a piece of cookie so that the current can pass through to the other side of the wire?" If the answer is "No", any volunteers with his/her left hand holding on the wire must make sure his/her left is off the wire now, and the activity should start all over again from step 6 because there is an open path in the circuitry. (8) If the answer is Yes" and the current component is not the switch, he/she should eat the cookie, put his/her left hand on the wire so that the current can pass through the component, move to the other side of the wire and go back to step 7. Otherwise, the switch should consume the cookie and grab the end of the wire from the battery. The result is we just complete a series circuit. Performance Assessment:

A work paper will be passed to each student to work on the material they just
learned. They should now be able to identify the standard symbols being used in
electrical circuitry. They should also be able to construct a series circuit of
their own.


A series circuit is simple to construct but it is hard to troubleshoot in case
a fault is present.
Return to Physics Index