### Notes:

The Series vs. Parallel Circuits Concept Builder is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Concept Builder can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.

### Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

Students often have difficulty keeping the characteristics of series and parallel circuits straight in their heads. The ability to do so takes time and practice. Once mastered, the mathematical analysis of circuits beomes considerably easier. This Concept Builder represnts one of our efforts to help students organize the concepts in their heads. The Concept Builder consists of three separate difficulty levels. Each difficulty level contains six Question Groups. But the sophistication of the questions and the concepts that they target are considerably higher in the Wizard Level compared to the Apprentice Level. We receommend that teachers preview the Questions or do the Concept Builder in advance of assigning it to students. By previewing the questions in advance of assigning it, you insure that you are assigning difficulty levels that are appropriate for your students.

In order to complete an activity, a student must correctly analyze each question in that activity. If a student's analysis is incorrect, then the student will have to correctly analyze the same or very similar question twice in order to successfully complete the activity. This approach provides the student extra practice on questions for which they exhibited difficulty. As a student progresses through an activity, a system of stars and other indicators are used to indicate progress on the level. A star is an indicator of correctly analyzing the question. Once a star is earned, that question is removed from the que of questions to be analyzed. Each situation is color-coded with either a yellow or a red box. A red box indicates that the student has incorrectly analyzed the question and will have to correctly analyze it twice before earning a star. A yellow box is an indicator that the question must be correctly analyzed one time in order to earn a star. Once every question in an activity has been analyzed, the student earns a trophy which is displayed on the Main Menu. This system of stars and trophies allows a teacher to easily check-off student progress or offer credit for completing assigned activities.

The most valuable (and most overlooked) aspect of this Concept Builder is the Help Me! feature. Each question group is accompanied by a Help page that discusses the specifics of the question. This Help feature transforms the activity from a question-answering activity into a concept-building activity. The student who takes the time to use the Help pages can be transformed from a guesser to a learner and from an unsure student to a confident student. The "meat and potatoes" of the Help pages are in the sections titled "How to Think About This Situation:" Students need to be encouraged by teachers to use the Help Me! button and to read this section of the page. A student that takes time to reflect upon how they are answering the question and how an expert would think about the situation can transform their naivete into expertise.

### Related Resources

There are numerous resources at The Physics Classroom website that serve as very complementary supports for this Series vs. Parallel Circuits Concept Builder. These include:
• Minds On Physics Internet Modules:
The Minds On Physics Internet Modules include a collection of interactive questioning modules that help learners assess their understanding of physics concepts and solidify those understandings by answering questions that require higher-order thinking. Missions EC7 - EC11 of the Electric Circuits module provide great complements to this Concept Builder. They are best used in the middle to later stages of the learning cycle. Visit the Minds On Physics Internet Modules.

Users may find that the App version of Minds On Physics works best on their devices. The App Version can be found at the Minds On Physics the App section of our website. The aforementioned assignments can be found on App #4 of the six-part app series. Visit Minds On Physics the App.

• Physics Interactives: Our Physics Interactives section includes a collection of interactive simulations that help students visualize concepts by interacting and observing the relationships between variables. The DV Circuit Builder simulation provides ample opportunity to explore how circuits work. Students can easily drag batteries, bulbs, wires, ammeters, and voltmeters onto a workbench to form a circuit and observe the result. The simulator is accompanied by several ready-to-use activities.

Visit DC Circuit Builder

• Curriculum/Practice: Several Concept Development worksheets at the Curriculum Corner will be very useful in assisting students in cultivating their understanding, most notably ...

Series Circuits

Parallel Circuits

Circuit Analysis

Visit the Curriculum Corner - Circuits.

Additional resources and ideas for incorporating Series vs. Parallel Circuits into an instructional unit on Circuits can be found at the Teacher Toolkits section of The Physics Classroom website.  Visit Teacher Toolkits.