Electric Circuit Diagrams: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:03 Electrical Circuits
  • 0:51 Parts of an Electric Circuit
  • 1:27 Drawing a Circuit
  • 1:52 Series & Parallel Circuits
  • 2:32 Reading a Diagram
  • 3:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Corrie Boone

Corrie holds master's in elementary education, taught elementary ESL in the public schools for 5 years, and recently was teaching EFL abroad.

You use electricity every day, but can you explain how it works? Can you read an electrical circuit diagram and understand it? After this lesson, you'll be able to explain such a diagram in detail, including the symbols used!

Electrical Circuits

What do TVs, cell phones, light bulbs, and even cars have in common? They are just a few things we use every day that require electricity. In this technological age, it's become nearly impossible to get through a day without electricity.

But how does the electricity get to where we need it? Electricity, which is a type of energy, flows on a circuit, which is just a path electricity travels on. Take a look at the Simple Electric Circuit image. This simple circuit has four parts: the switch, the battery (which is the source of the electricity), the light bulb, and the wire through which the electricity flows.

Electric circuit diagrams often have more or different parts shown using symbols. To be able to read and understand an electric circuit diagram, you need to know the different parts and the symbols used to identify each part. Let's take a look!

Parts of an Electric Circuit

Power source

This could be a battery or electric outlet. The flow of electricity starts and stops here.


How you turn electricity on and off.


The device using the electricity, like a TV, cell phone, car, or light bulb.


How the electricity moves through the circuit. Wires are made of metal, usually copper, because metals are good conductors. Conductors allow electricity to move through them freely. Other materials called insulators, like rubber, wood, and glass, don't allow electricity to move through them. They stop the flow of electricity.

Drawing a Circuit

Now that you know the parts of an electric circuit, you're ready to learn the symbols. Take a look at the Symbol chart to see each symbol, what it stands for, and what it does. The bulb/light, motor, and buzzer are all types of loads.

Symbols used in Electric Circuits

Symbols are used for two reasons: they make the diagram easy to understand, and they're universal, so anyone who knows them can read a circuit diagram. After this lesson, that'll be you!

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