Electrical Circuit
Electricity and Magnetism

Think again - about electric circuits

Diagnostic Questions for 11-14 14-16 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

These diagnostic questions are used for two main reasons:

  • To encourage students to talk and think through their understandings of electric circuits.
  • To provide the teacher with formative assessment information about the students' understandings of electric circuits.

What to Prepare

  • printed copies of the questions, on the support sheets

Support sheet

What Happens During this Activity

These questions might be used right at the start of the first lesson. Who can get them all correct? It would be a good idea to get the students to work in pairs on the questions, encouraging each pair to talk through their ideas. Collect responses from all of the pairs and discuss in a whole-class plenary.

Alternatively, the questions might be set for homework prior to the first electricity lesson, so that you have time to read through the responses.

The questions review key points from the SPT: Electric circuits topic.

Question 1

Two bulbs: both bulbs lit with the same brightness because the electric current is the same everywhere in the circuit.

Question 2

Small and large resistance: the current gets less but not zero because the battery cannot push as big a current through a larger resistor.

Question 3

Resistors in parallel: the current is greater because the total resistance is now smaller (because the second resistor provides an extra path for current).

Question 4

Best word: electric current; electric charge; voltage; energy; power output.


Download PDF of worksheet/support sheets for this activity.

Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today