Reflection: Connection to Prior Knowledge Series and Parallel Circuits - Section 3: Class Discussion


Students frequently struggle with identifying the benefits and drawbacks of series and parallel circuits. To aid them in this process, I bring in a concrete example to help illustrate the differences between the two circuit types. I have found that students most readily connect with models with which they have extensive prior knowledge and that are high interest. For this lesson, I bring in Christmas lights. Older models of Christmas lights contain series circuits. Because of this, if you remove one bulb, the entire string of lights will go out because the electricity does not have a path to travel in the circuit (an experience that most adults and many students can readily connect with). Newer lights are built with parallel circuits so that even if a bulb is removed, the string will still light up because the electricity can follow an alternate path. By using the Christmas lights as a teaching aid, I connect to my students prior knowledge and provide them with a concrete example of each circuit type. I have found that the use of holiday lights in the classroom has led to students' increased retention of the knowledge about circuit types.

  Making Connections About Circuits
  Connection to Prior Knowledge: Making Connections About Circuits
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Series and Parallel Circuits

Unit 2: Electricity
Lesson 10 of 11

Objective: SWBAT construct and define series and parallel circuits and their uses.

Big Idea: People build different kinds of circuits to meet human needs.

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