Education
Age range: 7-11
Duration: 30-59 mins
2203 views
• D & T
• Science

# How to make a simple electrical circuit

## Constructing a simple circuit

Learn how circuits work and assemble your own simple electrical circuit in this fun and engaging STEM activity!

This free resource could be used in KS2 as an engaging stand-alone activity to introduce circuits, as an introduction to a design and make project (such as the doorbell activity) or as an extension to add a powered element to another design and make activity (such as adding a motor to the ‘cardboard cars’ activity).

Activity: How to make a simple electrical circuit

In this activity pupils will assemble a simple electric circuit. This is a great way for KS2 students to develop an understanding of how electric circuits function.

The presentation below includes an image of the circuit and detailed instructions on preparing and joining the wires. If an alternative motor is used, this may require a different battery – e.g. a 4.5 V motor requires 3x AA batteries or may also work with a PP3 battery and battery snap.

As an alternative to the switch shown, a bought in switch could be used.

Sticky tape can be used to insulate the joins and prevent short circuits.

Where needed for the paper clip switch, it can be advantageous to use a hole punch to create the holes as it reduces the risk of tearing. Alternatively, the holes could be made by pushing through the card with a sharp pencil, into a piece of modelling clay. If tearing does occur, this can be addressed by using sticky tape on the rear of the part or background.

This activity will take approximately 50-60 minutes.

Tools/resources required

• Projector/Whiteboard

Components:

• 2 x AA batteries in holder
• Electric motor (e.g. 3V 13100 Rpm DC Motor)
• 3 lengths of wire, each 100-150 mm long (only a single length is required if a battery holder with attached wires is used)
• Either: 2 metal split pin fasteners and 1 paper clip per pupil, or one switch per pupil
• Sticky tape or electrical insulation tape.
• If needed: wire cutters/strippers (to cut excess wire lengths)

(Potential sources for these components include http://www.rapidonline.com/  and https://www.tts-group.co.uk/primary/dt/electricity/)

Optional:

• Hole punches (ideally single hole punches)
• Pre-made models of the circuit, for demonstration

Electrical circuits

An electrical circuit is a group of components that are connected together, typically using wires. The wires are typically copper metal, which is highly conductive, coated with insulating plastic, to prevent electric shocks. The circuit must be continuous (i.e., have no breaks) to allow electricity to flow through the components and back to its source, such as a battery. Switches make a gap in the circuit to stop electricity flowing when they are open. The components included in an electric circuit could range from motors, light sources and buzzers to programmable integrated circuits.

The engineering context

Circuits form the basis of all electrical equipment, ranging from lighting in homes to televisions and computers.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity students will be able to construct an electrical switch, they will understand that a complete circuit is required for electricity to flow and they will be able to construct an electrical circuit.

Download the free How to make a simple electrical circuit activity sheet below!

All activity sheets, worksheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.