Resistor Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Tiffany Hightower

Tiffany is a certified elementary school teacher. She has a B.A. in English, education certification and a master's degree in education from Central Michigan University.

Resistors are parts of electrical circuits that provide electrical power. In this lesson, you will learn what a resistor is, why it is important in a circuit, and how it operates within a circuit.

Electricity in Electronics

Have you ever had an electrical toy, radio, television, or computer that stopped working? Maybe a parent or teacher suggested it might be because it blew or burned out.

You probably know that electronics need electricity to work, but did you know that they can receive too much electricity? If electronics are plugged in and receive too much electricity from the socket, their insides can get damaged and the devices stop working.

Some electronics, or objects powered by electricity, require less electricity than others to work. Like how larger toys usually require larger batteries than smaller toys to work.

The electricity used to power electronics comes from an electrical circuit. Electricity travels on the circuit in the form of an electrical current. An electrical circuit has different parts that work together to make it work. For this lesson, we will focus on the part known as the resistor on an electrical circuit.

What's a Resistor?

The resistor is the part of an electrical circuit that resists, or limits, the power of an electrical current in a circuit. The resistor also helps to reduce, or lessen, the amount of electricity moving through the circuit.

Resistor for an Electrical Circuit
Resistor for an Electrical Circuit

Resistors are important to circuits because they reduce the amount of electricity traveling by a current through the circuit. This ensures that the right amount of electricity is provided to an object that needs electricity to work.

How Does a Resistor Work Within a Circuit?

Think about water hoses. When the water hose is tangled up or has a knot in it, the space that the water can move through is much smaller. Therefore, less water can travel through those areas.

That is similar to the way a resistor works on an electrical circuit. As electricity moves through a circuit, it has its full amount or power until it reaches the resistor. The resistor resists or reduces the amount of electrical current flowing through the circuit. This is to make sure that too much electricity is not powered through the circuit.

Most resistors use chemicals such as carbon and binder that are good for resisting electrical currents.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account