Simple Circuit

Electricity is used in our homes and schools everyday, but how does it get there? Electricity flows through wires from power plants, into our homes and schools, and through the computers, televisions, stoves and lamps that use it. But is it always flowing? This experiment uses a battery and a light bulb in a simple circuit to show that electricity flows through complete circuits.



1 battery

1 battery holder

1 bulb

1 bulb holder

2 alligator clips


What To Do

 Place the battery in the battery holder and the light bulb in the light bulb holder. Use alligator clips to connect one side of the battery holder with one of the metal screws on the light bulb holder, and the other side of the battery holder with the other screw on the light bulb holder. When the connections are made, completing the circuit, the bulb will light. This shows that electricity is flowing through the light bulb. If one of the connections is disrupted the light will go out, indicating that electricity is no longer flowing through the light bulb. Try disconnecting the circuit to see the effect.



1. Why does the light go out when the bulb is disconnected from the battery?

2. Can you think of anything from home that sometimes has electricity flowing through it, but other times does not?



"The Science Book of Electricity." Neil Ardley, Harcourt Brace and Company: London, 1991, p. 20-21.

© S. Olesik, WOW Project, Ohio State University, 2001.