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PhET Electric circuit lab

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An electronics kit in your computer! Build circuits with resistors, light bulbs, batteries, and switches. Take measurements with the realistic ammeter and voltmeter. View the circuit as a schematic diagram, or switch to a life-like view.

Learning Goals

  • Discuss basic electricity relationships.
  • Build circuits from schematic drawings.
  • Use an ammeter and voltmeter to take readings in circuits.
  • Provide reasoning to explain the measurements and relationships in circuits.
  • Discuss basic electricity relationships in series and parallel circuits.
  • Provide reasoning to explain the measurements in circuits.
  • Determine the resistance of common objects in the “Grab Bag.”

PhET circuit construction

PhET Circuit construction kit lab!

Start with “grab a wire” – Pull a “wire” onto the screen.

Add resistors, at least one battery, a lightbulb and a switch.

Move the elements close together, so they connect.

If you need to break 2 pieces apart, right click at the location, and choose ‘split junction’

a) Create a series circuit with one light bulb that you can turn on/off.

Click ‘voltmeter’ and a virtual voltmeter appears on the screen. Move the voltmeter’s leads.

When the switch is off

  1) measure the voltage across the bulb : _____

  2) measure the voltage across the battery: _____

Then with the switch on, do this again.

b) Create a parallel circuit with 2 bulbs that you can turn on/off

Click ‘voltmeter’ and a virtual voltmeter appears on the screen. Move the voltmeter’s leads.

When the switch is off

  1) measure the voltage across bulb A : _____

  2) measure the voltage across bulb B : _____

  3) measure the voltage across the battery: _____

Then with the switch on, do this again.

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