Objectives - Electric Circuits

The Minds On Physics program consists of 15 modules. Each module covers a different topic and consists of a varying number of assignments. Every assignment addresses one or two objectives. The objectives for the Electric Circuits module are listed below.

  • Assignment 1:
    • The student should be able to recognize current as the rate at which charge flows past a point, identify the units for electric current, and perform simple computations regarding electric current.
    • The student should be able to identify the conditions which are necessary for an electric current to be established within a circuit and recognize that the current is the same everywhere within the circuit.
  • Assignment 2:
    • The student should be able to identify the definition of voltage, the units of voltage, and relate voltage to the electric potential difference between two points on a circuit.
    • The student should be able to recognize the role of a battery as a charge pump which establishes an electric potential difference across its terminals so that charge can spontaneously flow through the external circuit.
  • Assignment 3:
    • The student should be able to identify the units of work (and energy), of power and of voltage and be able express an understanding of the meaning of such concepts.
    • The student should be able to solve simple computational problems which focus on the relationship between work (and energy), voltage, and charge.
  • Assignment 4:
    • The student should be able to identify the definition of resistance, the units of resistance, and the factors effecting the amount of resistance in a circuit.
    • The student should be able to predict the effect of varying voltage and resistance upon the current in a circuit and upon the brightness of a light bulb.
  • Assignment 5:
    • The student should be able to solve simple computational problems which relate the voltage, resistance and current for a simple circuit.
  • Assignment 6:
    • The student should be able to solve computational problems which relate the current to the power and the voltage and problems which relate the current and voltage to the work (or energy) and time.
    • The student should be able to solve computational problems which relate the cost of electricity and the time an electrical device is used to circuit variables such as power, current, voltage and resistance.
  • Assignment 7:
    • The student should be able to identify a series circuit if given a circuit diagram, to identify the effect of an increasing number of resistors in series upon the equivalent resistance, and to determine the equivalent resistance of a series circuit if given individual resistance values.
    • The student should be able to identify the effect of varying the number of resistors, varying resistance, and varying battery voltage upon the total circuit current and the bulb brightness of a series circuit.
    • The student should be able to compare the voltage drop across resistors in a series circuit and be able to identify the effect of increasing number of resistors upon the voltage drop across an individual resistor in a series circuit.
  • Assignment 8:
    • The student should be able to identify a parallel circuit if given a circuit diagram, to identify the effect of an increasing number of resistors in parallel upon the equivalent resistance, and to determine the equivalent resistance of a parallel circuit if given individual resistance values.
    • The student should be able to identify the effect of varying the number of resistors, varying resistance, and varying battery voltage upon the total circuit current and the bulb brightness of a parallel circuit.
    • The student should be able to compare the voltage drop across resistors in a parallel circuit and be able to identify the effect of increasing number of resistors upon the voltage drop across and current through an individual resistor in a parallel circuit.
  • Assignment 9:
    • The student should be able to mathematically analyze a series circuit to determine the equivalent resistance, the total circuit current and the voltage drop across a resistor (if given the battery voltage and the resistance of each resistor).
  • Assignment 10:
    • The student should be able to mathematically analyze a parallel circuit to determine the equivalent resistance, the total circuit current, the voltage drop across each resistor, and the current through each branch (if given the battery voltage and the resistance of each resistor).
  • Assignment 11:
    • The student should be able to mathematically analyze a combination circuit to determine the equivalent resistance, the total circuit current and the current through each resistor (if given the battery voltage and the resistance of each resistor).
  • Assignment 12:
    • The student should be able to identify a circuit as being either parallel or series and mathematically analyze the circuit to determine the equivalent resistance, the total circuit current, the voltage drop across each resistor, and the current through each resistor (if given the battery voltage and the resistance of each resistor).


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