Try sofatutor for 30 Days

Discover why over 1.6 MILLION students choose sofatutor!

Electrical Circuits

Rating

Ø 4.2 / 48 ratings
The authors
Avatar
Team Digital

Basics on the topic Electrical Circuits

The Electrical Circuit Explained

Have you ever wondered how a simple circuit works, or how to explain electrical circuits for elementary school children? Here, you will learn how to build a circuit and how simple electrical circuits work.

But beware! As a general rule: electricity can be dangerous for you. Therefore, you should not conduct experiments with electricity on your own unless an adult is present.

Experiments with the circuit for elementary school are safest done with an experiment kit. This way, we can answer the question, What does a circuit look like?, without the danger of getting an electric shock.

What is an Electrical Circuit? — Introduction to Simple Circuits

For a simple circuit with a light bulb, you need:

  • a battery,
  • two wires with alligator clips, and
  • a light bulb.

Here's how you proceed: First, look at the battery at the bottom of the picture. Do you see the plus sign (+) on one side and the minus sign (−) on the other side of the battery? Each battery has two poles.

Now, follow the two wires. Then, you will see that the red wire is connected to the positive pole and the black wire is connected to the negative pole of the battery. The other ends of the two wires are connected to the light bulb.

SEO_25882_26056_Circuit-01.svg

What do you think? Is this a closed circuit, like you've been taught since elementary school? The electricity can flow in a circle if all parts are connected by the wire, from one pole to the other. This way the light bulb can light up.

In elementary school, there are also electrical circuits with switches. This allows the circuit to be broken.

Drawing an Electrical Circuit

To draw a circuit, you need to know certain symbols. Do you know what the circuit symbol for the light bulb looks like? You can find the symbols in the table below:

The circuit symbols in elementary school

Symbol for Description
Light bulb: an X surrounded by a circle
Wire: a long line —
Battery: two lines of uneven length with a plus (+) and a minus (−)

The circuit diagram for elementary school looks like this. You can also look at the drawn symbols there:

SEO_25882_26056_HowToDraw-01.svg

Can you see from the dashed lines that the electricity flows in a circle? So how does a circuit work? Both poles of a battery, the positive pole and the negative pole, must be connected to each other by wires. If a light bulb is in between, you can see the flow of electricity as it by lights up.

Now you have an explanation of the circuit for elementary school. If you want to deepen your knowledge, feel free to watch other videos, like electricity generation or conductors and insulators. On this page, you will also find interactive exercises and a printable worksheet on the topic of simple electrical circuits.

Transcript Electrical Circuits

Uma loves to do experiments... so her friends surprised her with an experiment kit where she has to build... Electrical Circuits Before Uma starts, she reads the instructions because she knows electricity can be dangerous! And the same applies to you at home: electricity is very dangerous. Experiments with electricity can only be done with kits like Uma's. If you want to do something with electricity, always ask your parents first! In Uma's experiment kit, there are two pieces of wire... with crocodile clips on each end... the light bulb ... and a battery. She wants to try to light up the lightbulb. First, Uma looks at the battery. The battery has a postive terminal with a PLUS symbol... and a negative terminal with a MINUS symbol. If Uma clamps one of the wires to the positive terminal pole... and the other end... goes to the lightbulb... what do you think will happen next? (...) Absolutely nothing! How unusual... what would Uma have to change to make the lamp light up? (...) Uma should take the second wire and clamp it to the negative terminal pole. Where should the other end of the wire go? (...) Uma can attach it to the other connection of the light bulb! Do you think the lamp will shine this time? (...) Indeed! But why? Uma built an electrical circuit, which is a complete path around which electricity can flow. We can also draw it! First, represent the lightbulb, using a circle with an in it. Next, the wires are represented using straight lines. Last, the battery is represented with two lines that are different lengths. The longer line represents the postive terminal and the shorter line represents the negative terminal. Let's draw the electrical circuit Uma built. First, draw the battery, the source of the electricity. Next, draw the lightbulb. Then connect the POSITIVE terminal pole of the battery to the light bulb with a wire. The wire is a conductor, or a material that allows an electric current to pass through easily. Would this be enough to light up the lamp? (...) No, the lamp needs the second wire from the light bulb to the NEGATIVE terminal pole... because the current needs to flow from one pole to the other. The current travels through the wire... through the lamp... and through the second wire to its destination in the other pole. On its way, the current lights up the lamp. Since the current can only FLOW in a circle, we call it an electrical circuit. In order for this to work, the circuit must be CLOSED, meaning everything must be connected by wire. While Uma looks for her cell phone to send a picture to her friends, let's summarize! Remember, an electrical circuit is a complete path around which electricity can flow. Current flows from the positive terminal pole to the negative terminal pole. We can easily draw a circuit using special symbols for the battery... the conductive wire... and the light bulb. But, be careful! Electricity is very dangerous, always ask your parents first before you do anything with electricity. Uma is about to take the perfect picture...Oh no! Good thing there is electricity!

7 comments
7 comments
  1. electricity is cool

    From Lucas Scott Kerley, 9 months ago
  2. Electricity 🤖

    From Oluwajoba, 10 months ago
  3. ha ha

    From Averie, about 1 year ago
  4. THIS IS COOL

    From Averie, about 1 year ago
  5. Ha ha! “Crockidile clips”?

    From Rosie, about 1 year ago
More comments

Electrical Circuits exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Electrical Circuits.
  • Label the materials.

    Hints

    The battery has a + and - sign on it.

    The crocodile clips are attached to the wire.

    Solution

    $ $

  • Highlight the symbols of an electrical circuit.

    Hints

    There are 2 wires.

    The battery has a + and - sign on it.

    Solution

    $ $.

  • Which image shows an electrical circuit?

    Hints

    Here's what all the symbols mean.

    The current needs to flow from one pole of the battery to the other.

    The positive terminal pole of the battery needs to be connected to the light bulb with the wire.

    The negative terminal pole of the battery needs to be connected to the light bulb with another wire.

    Solution

    First, the positive terminal pole of the battery needs to be connected to the light bulb with the wire.

    Then, the negative terminal pole of the battery needs to be connected to the light bulb with another wire.

    This will allow the current to flow from one pole to the other, lighting up the bulb.

  • Electrical circuits.

    Hints

    An electrical current can have 2 light bulbs as long as the wires connect.

    Here's what each symbol means.

    The current needs to flow from one pole of the battery to the other.

    Solution

    The circuits under the ✅:

    • The positive terminal pole of the battery is connected to the light bulb with the wire.
    • The negative terminal pole of the battery is connected to the light bulb with another wire.
    • Have a complete path which electricity can flow.
    The incomplete circuits under the ❌:
    • Have an incomplete path which electricity cannot flow.

  • What is an electrical circuit?

    Hints

    This is an electrical circuit.

    Electricity flows through an electrical circuit.

    Solution

    An electrical circuit is:

    A complete path which electricity can flow.

  • What's the mistake?

    Hints

    Here's what each of the symbol means.

    The current needs to flow from one pole of the battery to the other.

    Solution
    • The first image, the wire is connected to the positive pole, but not the light bulb.
    • The second image, there are no wires connected to the light bulb.
    • The third image, the wire is connected to the light bulb, but not the negative pole.
    • The fourth image, the wire is connected to the light bulb, but not the positive pole.
    • The fifth image, there is no battery.