Check out this virtual circuit simulator for building dc circuits. Wires, batteries, resistors, light bulbs, and switches are available, along with common "real world" objects. You can modify parameters such as resistance and voltage as desired, and use meters are available for measuring voltages and currents. This site is part of a large collection of simulations freely available from the Physics Education Technology (PhET) group at the University of Colorado.
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
PhET Interactive Simulations by The PhET Team, University of Colorado are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as either motions of particles or energy stored in fields. (HS-PS3-2)
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Definitions of Energy (PS3.A)
…and "electrical energy" may mean energy stored in a battery or energy transmitted by electric currents. (9-12)
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Systems and System Models (K-12)
Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs— and energy, matter, and information flows within systems. (6-8)
When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models. (9-12)
Models can be used to predict the behavior of a system, but these predictions have limited precision and reliability due to the assumptions and approximations inherent in models. (9-12)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter. (6-8)
The total amount of energy and matter in closed systems is conserved. (9-12)
Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system. (9-12)
Structure and Function (K-12)
Structures can be designed to serve particular functions. (6-8)
Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function. (6-8)
Investigating or designing new systems or structures requires a detailed examination of the properties of different materials, the structures of different components, and connections of components to reveal its function and/or solve a problem. (9-12)
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)
Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. (6-8)
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena. (6-8)
Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
Develop a model to describe unobservable mechanisms. (6-8)
Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
Develop and use a model based on evidence to illustrate the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (9-12)
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
8. The Designed World
8C. Energy Sources and Use
6-8: 8C/M4. Electrical energy can be generated from a variety of energy resources and can be transformed into almost any other form of energy. Electric circuits are used to distribute energy quickly and conveniently to distant locations.
11. Common Themes
9-12: 11A/H2. Understanding how things work and designing solutions to problems of almost any kind can be facilitated by systems analysis. In defining a system, it is important to specify its boundaries and subsystems, indicate its relation to other systems, and identify what its input and output are expected to be.
6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
%0 Electronic Source %D November 30, 2017 %T PhET Simulation: Circuit Construction Kit (DC Only) %I PhET %V 2023 %N 3 December 2023 %8 November 30, 2017 %9 text/html %U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc
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This item is a one-day high school lab investigation of factors causing short circuits in both series and parallel circuits. Detailed lab instructions are accompanied by diagrams and prediction charts to gauge preconceived notions against the observed outcomes. The lab materials are readily accessible and inexpensive to obtain.