Electrical Circuit
Electricity and Magnetism

Building circuits: adding cells in series

Classroom Activity for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

This activity can be used to explore the effects of adding extra cells to single loop circuits.

What to Prepare

  • A copy of the interactive diagramming tool

What Happens During this Activity

Here you will want to concentrate on the two aspects of adding cells to the circuits, as experienced by the resistive elements in the circuit:

  • There is more current in the elements.
  • The energy shifted as each coulomb of charge passes through increases.

Other changes follow from this, and you may want to use the energy and charge flow descriptions as well, although these should not be central at this point. The whole circuit is important here, so we suggest building one or two simple ones, showing how the labels might be used, and then providing a few challenges to construct with the class as a way of fixing the behaviour of the circuit elements in their minds.

For simple loop circuits, we suggest that you use a mixture of current and voltage labels, and consider the necessary changes to these labels as the number of batteries is increased.


Download a copy of the interactive diagramming tool and unzip files to use.

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