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Circuit Sense

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Circuit Sense

In this activity about electricity, learners identify closed and open circuits. First, learners examine and label diagrams of open and closed circuits. Then, learners build each of the circuits shown in the diagrams using electrical supplies. Throughout the activity, learners predict and then test if the light bulbs will turn on based on the circuit type.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Wire strippers
  • 8-10 inch insulated, solid core, 20, 22, or 24 gauge wire
  • D-cell batteries
  • D-cell battery holders
  • 1.5 volt light bulbs
  • Light bulb holders
  • Pencils
  • Open or Closed Circuit Worksheets


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electric Circuits
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Electronics


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, ©2002


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