Parts of a Circuit: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is an Electric Circuit?
  • 0:29 Parts of a Cicuit
  • 1:13 Example
  • 1:44 Changing the Load
  • 2:17 Changing the Power Source
  • 2:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Catherine Maher

Catherine has taught 4th through 7th grade and has a master's degree in reading education.

In this lesson, we'll explore the parts of a circuit. You'll learn how you can make changes in the parts of a circuit, called components, and the effect those changes will have on the circuit.

What Is an Electric Circuit?

You flip a switch and a light goes on. Do you know why the light goes on? To understand, you need to know a little about electric circuits.

A circuit is a path for electricity to move through. It's sort of like a big loop. As electricity moves, or flows, the electricity might light a bulb, turn a fan, or make your toaster get hot. Let's take a look at the parts of a circuit to better understand how this works.

Parts of a Circuit

All circuits have some basic parts, called components. One component is the power source, also called a voltage source. The power source is what pushes the electricity through the circuit.

Next, circuits need connectors. Connectors connect all the parts of the circuit and create the path or loop that the electricity travels through. Connectors are often made of wire or other metal.

A third component is the load. This is the thing being powered by the electricity in a circuit. It could be a light bulb, a TV, a fan, or any of the many electronic gadgets we use every day.

Finally, most circuits will have a switch that turns the power on and off.

Example of a Simple Circuit

Let's use the example of a very simple circuit with a battery, light bulb, and switch, all connected by wires in a big loop. A circuit will only work if the electricity can flow through it continuously. A switch works by creating an opening in the circuit to turn the power off and by closing that opening to turn the power on. When the switch is on and the circuit is closed, the bulb will light. When the switch is off and the circuit is open, the bulb goes out.

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