How to Teach Young Children the Difference Between Series & Parallel Circuits

Written by steven white
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How to Teach Young Children the Difference Between Series & Parallel Circuits
The number of switches determines the type of circuit. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Kids love hands-on learning. When it comes to electricity and magnetism, hands-on is the most practical way of teaching. Series and parallel circuits are the basic building blocks for technology. Whereas a series circuit will take a current to one final switch, a parallel circuit divides the current, delivering it to two switches. This is the primary difference to help young children understand. The best way to do it is with a circuit building kit. Children as young as six years old can use series kits.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Circuit building kit
  • Flash cards

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  1. 1

    Place the series circuit flashcard in a place where the child can see it and ask if he can build this circuit on the board. The flashcard comes in the circuit building toy kit. You can find a circuit building toy kit online or at any hobby store.

  2. 2

    Connect the kit's battery to the circuit using the connection cables once the child has built it and let the child flip the switch.

  3. 3

    Present the child with the parallel circuit flashcard and ask the child to build this circuit, pointing out the differences as she builds it. Connect the battery and flip the switch again.

  4. 4

    Pull out both flashcards and discuss the differences with the child.

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