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This newer HTML5 PhET simulation allows users to build virtual circuits with only in-line ammeters. It's an somewhat different version of the popular Circuit Construction Kit-DC, providing the opportunity to integrate more realistic electronics. Similar to the original version, students can drag wires, batteries, resistors, light bulbs, and switches to build a very simple or more complex circuit. Determine if everyday objects are conductors or insulators, view the circuit as a schematic drawing or switch to a lifelike view.

This resource is part of a large collection of simulations freely available from the Physics Education Technology (PhET) group at the University of Colorado. Note: The  original Java version of this simulation is similar, and also contains a "Help" section with tips for users. A link can be found within the main page for the DC Circuit Simulator.
Editor's Note: Registered PhET users have access to a robust collection of lesson plans, student guides, clicker questions, and assessment pieces created by science teachers for use with the "Circuit Construction Kit-DC" simulations. These resources are organized by grade level and resource type. Registration is free and easy!
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Electricity & Magnetism
- DC Circuits
= Circuit Analysis
= Currents
= Ohm's Law
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
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.

Rights Holder:
University of Colorado-Boulder
Merlot Record
DC Circuit, ammeter, current, electric circuits, electricity, interactive simulation, ohm's law, resistivity, resistor, voltmeter
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created September 2, 2018 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
September 2, 2018 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
November 30, 2017

High voltage applied to hand and dog

Author: Axel Mellinger
Posted: October 2, 2018 at 2:36PM

The simulation suggests that applying 10,000 V to a hand (resistance 1 MOhm) would only result in a current of 10 mA, which would be painful but not lethal. However, human skin is a highly non-ohmic conductor. At 10,000 V, electric breakdown leads to a skin resistance that is orders of magnitude smaller than 1 MOhm. The same is true for applying 10,000 V to the dog.

I feel the simulation should be modified so that it does not give users the false impression that applying high voltage to humans and animals is safe.

Axel Mellinger
Department of Physics
Central Michigan University

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Next Generation Science Standards

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)
  • 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

11A. Systems
  • 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.
11B. Models
  • 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.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
PhET, (2017), WWW Document, (https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc-virtual-lab).
PhET, PhET Circuit Construction Kit: DC - Virtual Lab (2017), <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc-virtual-lab>.
APA Format
PhET. (2017, November 30). PhET Circuit Construction Kit: DC - Virtual Lab. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc-virtual-lab
Chicago Format
PhET. PhET Circuit Construction Kit: DC - Virtual Lab. November 30, 2017. https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc-virtual-lab (accessed 21 June 2024).
MLA Format
PhET. PhET Circuit Construction Kit: DC - Virtual Lab. 2017. 30 Nov. 2017. 21 June 2024 <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc-virtual-lab>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "PhET", Title = {PhET Circuit Construction Kit: DC - Virtual Lab}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {21 June 2024}, Month = {November 30, 2017}, Year = {2017} }
Refer Export Format

%Q PhET %T PhET Circuit Construction Kit: DC - Virtual Lab %D November 30, 2017 %U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc-virtual-lab %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A PhET, %D November 30, 2017 %T PhET Circuit Construction Kit: DC - Virtual Lab %V 2024 %N 21 June 2024 %8 November 30, 2017 %9 text/html %U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc-virtual-lab

Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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