Series Circuit Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Alexandra Carpenter

Alexandra has an MA in English and a BA in history and film studies.

In this lesson, you'll learn about a special kind of electrical circuit called a series circuit. Continue on to find out what makes up a series circuit, how it works, and some problems with these circuits.

Let There Be Light!

Whenever you turn on your television or computer or flip a light switch, you have completed an electrical circuit. We use the word 'circuit' when we talk about something that goes around and starts and stops in the same place; for example, you might run a circuit, or a lap, around a track.

Electricity travels around a circuit, too. The electrical current, or energy, moves along a path. When it gets to a resistor, the energy can be used. A resistor is anything that uses electrical current, such as your refrigerator, television, or a lamp. Sometimes resistors are also called 'loads.'

To have a complete electrical circuit, you must have a cell that provides the electrical current, a conductor to carry the current, and a resistor to use the current. More than one cell put together is called a battery. The conductors can be anything that allows electricity to pass through it easily; usually these are wires.

A Series Circuit

There are several different kinds of electrical circuits. One of these is called a series circuit. The word 'series' means a number of things that follow each other; for example, you might read a series of books or watch a television series with many episodes.

A series circuit has multiple resistors. Instead of just one light or one television on the circuit, a series circuit has at least two. In a series circuit, even though there are multiple resistors, there is only one path through which the electric current can move. The resistors are arranged in a row. The current passes through the first, then the second, then the third, etc. as it makes its way around the circuit and back to the cell.

Disadvantages of a Series Circuit

They All Go Out!

One of the big problems with series circuits is that if there is a problem with any of the resistors, none of them will work. For example, if you had a series circuit with three light bulbs as resistors, if one of the light bulbs burns out, none of them will light up! Anything that causes a break in the circuit will stop the current from flowing.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com 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 Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
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? Study.com 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
Support