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Electric Circuits Notebook Labs


View: Auxilliary Items  ||  Scoring Rubrics


The following items should be in the Electric Circuits portion of your notebook. They should be clearly organized and easy to find. Use an organizational system and label all work. Each lab will be graded separately. Twelve Electric Circuits lab grades will be entered into the gradebook. An overall notebook grade will be determined based on your use of the notebook as an organized and effective record-keeping tool which documents your engagement in the learning cycle during classtime.



C1. Sparky the Electrician Lab

Question:

What are the two requirements for an electric circuit? 


Purpose:

To identify the four successful arrangements of wire, bulb and battery which successfully light a bulb and a couple of unsuccessful arrangements AND to describe the commonalities of those arrangements by identifying the two requirements for an electric circuit.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, a Conclusion and a Discussion of Results. The Data section includes sketches of the four successful arrangements and at least two unsuccessful arrangements. The Conclusion describes the two requirements for an electric circuit. The Discussion of Results should explain why the unsuccessful arrangements were unsuccessful in terms of how they fail to meet the requirements; and uses one of the successful arrangements to elaborate on the meaning of each requirement.






C2. First to Light Lab

Question:

Which light within a simple electric circuit is the first to light? Is it the light closest to the positive terminal? ... closest to the negative terminal? ... or do all lights seem to light at the same time?


Purpose:

To determine which light bulb (if any) within a 2- or a 3-bulb circuit is the first to light.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion. The Data section should include a diagram of the 2- or the 3-bulb circuit and some clearly documented observations. The observations should be pertinent to the Purpose. The Conclusion should (as always) answer the question posed in the Purpose of the lab.






C3. Greatest Current Lab

Question:

Where is the rate of charge flow within a simple circuit the greatest? ... the least? ... or is it everywhere the same?


Purpose:

To determine location within a simple circuit (if anywhere) where the rate of charge flow is the greatest.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion. The Data section should include a diagram of the simple circuit and the measurements and/or observations which were made. Measurements and/or observations should be clearly documented. The Conclusion should answer the question posed in the Purpose of the lab and identify the supporting evidence which validates the answer.





C4. Voltage-Current-Resistance Lab

Question:

What is the mathematical relationship between voltage, current and resistance? 


Purpose:

To determine the mathematical relationship (i.e., equation) relating the voltage, current and resistance in a simple circuit.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, a Conclusion and a Discussion of Results. The Data section should include the provided table and graph - completed and taped in. A linear regression analysis should be performed and the results (slope, y-intercept and regression constant) should be reported. The Conclusion should report a general equation relating Delta V, I and R.  The Discussion of Results should discuss the evidence which supports the equation reported in the Conclusion; specific attention should be devoted to the slope-resistance relationship. An error analysis and percent error calculation should be included.





C5. Round vs. Oblong – the Greatest Resistance? Lab

Question:

What bulb has the greatest resistance - the round bulb or the long bulb?


Purpose:

To determine which bulb has the greatest resistance - the round bulb or the long bulb.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion. The Data section should include a diagram of the two single-bulb circuits and the results of the measurements. Calculations of R should be performed. The Conclusion should respond to the question raised in the Purpose.






C6. Series versus Parallel Lab

Question:

When one light bulb goes out in a series or a parallel circuit, what happens to the other light bulbs? When the number of light bulbs in a series or a parallel circuit is increased, what happens to the overall current and the overall resistance of the circuit?


Purpose:

To compare the characteristics of series circuits to the characteristics of parallel circuits.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion/Discussion of Results. The Data section includes a diagram of the two circuits being compared and a documented record of procedure and observations. The record is clear and relevant to the questions raised in the Purpose of the lab. The Conclusion/Discussion should respond to the questions raised in the Purpose.







C7. Comparing Voltage Drops and Currents in Series Lab

Question:

How do the voltage drops across the three resistors of a series circuit compare to each other? Are these voltage drops different for different resistors? How do the voltage drops compare to the voltage gain in the battery? How do the current values in the individual resistors compare to each other? Are these currents affected by the resistance of the resistors? How do the current values compare to the current at the battery location? For any individual resistor, how is the voltage drop, current and resistance related? How can all these comparisons be expressed using mathematical equations?


Purpose:

To compare current values at the three resistor locations of a series circuit and to compare voltage drops across the three resistors of a series circuit and the voltage gain across the battery.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion/Discussion of Results. The Data section should include a schematic of a three-resistor series circuit with labeled resistors. The resistance values should be indicated on the diagram. Ammeter locations should be indicated on the diagram as well. Measurements of Delta V1, Delta V2, and Delta V3 should be indicated in a table or on the diagram. Measurements of I1, I2, and I3 should be indicated in a table or on the diagram. The Conclusion/Discussion should identify equations relating the voltage drops for each resistor to the current at the resistor location and the resistance value. The voltage drops for the resistors should be compared to the voltage gain in the battery. Conceptual ideas should be extracted from the data and referenced to the data. Equations should be stated. An error analysis should be performed and percent difference values calculated.








C8. Bulbs in Series Circuits Lab

Question:

When a low-R and a high-R bulb are placed together in series, which is brightest? Why? Which is brightest when they are alone in a circuit? Why? How do the voltage drops across and the current in the bulbs compare? How do these measurements support the observations of relative brightness?


Purpose:

To compare the brightness of low-R and high-R bulbs when placed together in series and to compare these brightness values to their brightness when placed alone in a single-bulb circuit AND to use voltage drop and current measurements to explain the observed differences.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion/Discussion of Results. The Data section should include labeled schematic diagrams of the three circuits which you built and tested. Voltmeter arrangements and ammeter placements and readings should be recorded on your diagram. Observations of relative brightness should be recorded on the diagrams using starburst notations. All diagrams should be organized, legible and labeled. The Conclusion/Discussion should include the answer to the questions raised in the purpose accompanied by a lengthy explanation of why one bulb was brighter than another. Explanations should reference the collected data.






C9. Comparing Voltage Drops and Currents in Parallel Lab

Question:

How do the voltage drops across the three resistors of a parallel circuit compare to each other? Are these voltage drops different for different resistors? How do the voltage drops compare to the voltage gain in the battery? How do the current values in the individual branches compare to each other? Are these currents affected by the resistance of the branches? How do the current values compare to the current at the battery location? For any individual resistor, how are the voltage drop, current and resistance related? How can all these comparisons be expressed using mathematical equations?


Purpose:

To compare voltage drops across the three resistors of a parallel circuit and to compare current values at the three resistor locations and outside of the branches of a parallel circuit.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion/Discussion of Results. The Data section should include a schematic of a three-resistor parallel circuit. The resistance values should be indicated on the diagram. Ammeter locations should be indicated on the diagram as well. Measurements of Delta V1, Delta V2, and Delta V3 should be indicated in a table or on the diagram. Measurements of I1, I2, and I3 should be indicated in a table or on the diagram. The Conclusion/Discussion should identify equations relating the branch currents to the voltage drop and resistance values for those branches and to relate the branch currents to the total current in the circuit. Conceptual ideas should be extracted from the data and referenced to the data. Equations should be stated. An error analysis should be performed and percent difference values calculated.





C10. Bulbs in Parallel Circuits Lab

Question:

When a low-R and a high-R bulb are placed in separate branches of a parallel circuit, which is brightest? Why? Which is brightest when they are alone in a circuit? Why? How do the voltage drops across and the current in the bulbs compare? How do these measurements support the observations of relative brightness?


Purpose:

To compare the brightness of low-R and high-R bulbs when placed in separate branches of a parallel circuit and to compare these brightness values to their brightness when placed alone in a single-bulb circuit AND to use voltage drop and current measurements to explain the observed differences.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion/Discussion of Results. The Data section should include labeled schematic diagrams of the three circuits which you built and tested. Voltmeter arrangements and ammeter placements and readings should be recorded on your diagram. Observations of relative brightness should be recorded on the diagrams using starburst notations. All diagrams should be organized, legible and labeled. The Conclusion/Discussion should include the answer to the questions raised in the purpose accompanied by a lengthy explanation of why one bulb was brighter than another. Explanations should reference the collected data.





C11. Combination Circuits Lab

Question:

How do the voltage drops across the various resistors of a combination circuit compare to each other? Are these voltage drops different for different resistors? How do the branch voltage drops compare to each other? How do the voltage drops compare to the voltage gain in the battery? How do the current values in the individual branches compare to each other? Are these currents affected by the resistance of the resistors? How do the current values compare to the current at the battery location? How do the current values in the branches compare to those values outside of the branches? For any individual resistor, how are the voltage drop, current and resistance related? How can all these comparisons be expressed using mathematical equations?


Purpose:

To develop equations which compare the currents in the individual resistors of a combination circuit to the current in the battery AND which compare the voltage drops for the individual resistors to the voltage gain in the battery AND which compare the voltage drop across an individual resistor to the current in that resistor and the resistance of that resistor.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion/Discussion of Results. The Data section should include the provided page - completed and taped in. Work is should be shown for each type of calculation. Other calculations should be performed and shown in an effort to establish equations which relate the data to each other. The Conclusion/Discussion should state several mathematical equations relating the data. Conceptual ideas should be extracted from the data and referenced to the data. An error analysis should be performed and percent difference values calculated.




C12. Energy Audit Activity

Question:

How much electrical energy is used on a monthly basis in your home and what are the main sources of energy consumption?


Purpose:

To conduct an analysis of household energy use in your home in order to estimate the average monthly electrical energy use and to determine the main sources of energy consumption.

A complete lab write-up includes a Title, a Purpose, a Data section, and a Conclusion/Discussion of Results. The Data section should include the provided sheet - completed and taped in. All appliances - from the most frequently used to the least frequently used, from the largest to the smallest - should be included in the audit. The weekly log should be used to estimate a monthly cost. The Conclusion/Discussion should answer the question posed in the lab and identify the main sources of energy consumption in your home.






C13. Opening Questions and your Use of a Notebook as a Record-Keeping Tool

Your course notebook is a record-keeping tool. You record information from class which can be used when doing homework and preparing for quizzes and tests. An organized and well-documented notebook typically serves as a useful and effective tool which a student can make much use of. Such a notebook includes notes from class post-lab discussions, book readings, and answers/discussions of opening questions. The information is recorded in the notebook in an organized manner which the student can understand upon review.




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