There’s More Than One Way to Light a Lightbulb

Circuits:  A Bright Idea!

This week the 7th graders talked about electrical circuits and examined the effect of including two lamps in one circuit.

We found that when a circuit includes two lamps in series (one right after the other), both lamps need to be connected or neither light will turn on! This is because electricity is the flow of electrons, and if a light is not connected, the circuit is not complete and the electrons cannot flow. We also noticed that the lamps in series were dimmer than a single lamp alone; this is because the electrons have twice as many lights to turn on!

But when lamps are connected in parallel so that the electricity flows to both lamps at the same time, they are just as bright as one lamp by itself because both lamps are seeing the same amount of electricity. If a lamp in a parallel circuit is disconnected, the other lamp doesn’t change; in fact, a parallel circuit with one lamp disconnected is the same as a simple circuit with one lamp!

 

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