PhET Simulation Online Lab: Electric Circuits, Resistors in Series & Parallel

Grade Levels
8th - 12th, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Internet Activities
  • Activity
25 pages
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Easel Activity Included
This resource includes a ready-to-use interactive activity students can complete on any device. Easel by TpT is free to use! Learn more.
Compatible with Digital Devices
The Teacher-Author has indicated that this resource can be used for device-based learning.

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  1. These PhET online physics labs will engage your students in an exciting hands-on learning experience. Each lab activity covers a specific topic from the factors affecting the period of a pendulum to the velocity and acceleration of objects experiencing projectile motion. All have been classroom test
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Using this guided inquiry lab from my TpT store your students will gain an in depth understanding of the difference between resistors in series circuits and resistors in parallel circuits. I have done these activities with my students many times and they always find them fun and engaging. The best part is that your students won't even know they are learning as they complete the included inquiry-based laboratory assignment sheet. The PhET Circuit Construction Kit: DC simulation can be found at this link:

These guided inquiry activities are intended to be used with one of the two HTML5 Circuit Construction Kits from PhET Interactive Simulations. With these guided inquiry activities your students can quickly build electric circuits and collect accurate data that will allow them to compare the characteristics of resistors in series with resistors in parallel. With a little up-front guidance your students will be able to complete the activity with little assistance. The goals of these activities are that your students will understand:

(1) how the voltage drop across resistors changes when resistors are added in series and parallel (Kirchhoff’s voltage rule).

(2) how the current through resistors changes when resistors are added in series and parallel (Kirchhoff’s current rule).

(3) how the equivalent resistance changes when resistors are added in series and parallel.

(4) how the power output (bulb brightness) of the resistors changes when resistors are added in series and parallel.

(5) how removing one resistor from the circuit changes the behavior of the remaining resistors for series and parallel circuits.

This HTML5 web-based inquiry lab can be run from the internet browser on most cellphones, tablets and computers. Nothing to download or install. All of the PhET simulations are available from their website:

The product includes:

(1) Series Resistors Lab: Voltage, Current, Resistance and Bulb Brightness

(2) Parallel Resistors Lab: Voltage, Current, Resistance and Bulb Brightness

(3) Summary Assignment: Summary Comparing Resistors in Series and Parallel Circuits

(4) Notes Comparing Series and Parallel Resistors

(5) A Getting Started Teachers Guide

(6) Answer Keys

Check out all my money saving bundles:

Electric Circuits Bundle No. 1: Resistors in Series & Parallel

Electric Circuits Bundle No. 2: Current, Resistivity, Ohm's Law & Resistors

Electromagnetism Bundle No. 1: Magnetic Flux, Faraday's Law & Lenz's Law

Optics Bundle No. 1: Refraction, Snell's Law, Reflection, Internal Reflection

Optics Bundle No. 2: Ray Diagrams, Thin Lens Equation & Magnification

Optics Bundle No. 3: Everything from Optics Bundle No. 1 & No. 2

Kinematics Bundle No. 1: Distance, Displacement, Speed, Velocity & Acceleration

Kinematics Bundle No. 2: One Dimensional Horizontal & Free Fall Motion

Kinematics Bundle No. 3: Position & Velocity vs Time Graphs

Newton's Second Law Bundle No. 1: Free Body Diagrams & Acceleration Horizontal

Newton’s Second Law Bundle No. 2: Acceleration, All Five Products

Newton’s Laws of Motion Bundle: Three PhET Online Labs

Total Pages
25 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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