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Electric circuits
1a. Basic circuits: a lamp and a cell
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Components in a circuit - interactive graphic
Picture 1.2. A simple circuit. Closing the switch makes the lamp light up because the cell can push an electric current around the circuit.
Simple circuit
Here is a simple electric circuit. It has a cell, a lamp and a switch. To make a circuit, these components are connected together with metal connecting wires.

When the switch is closed, the lamp lights up. This is because there is a continuous path of metal for the electric current to flow around. If there were any breaks in the circuit, the current could not flow.

The current flows all the way around the circuit. The cell pushes the current around the circuit. As the current passes through the lamp, it makes it light up.

Series circuit
This circuit is called a series circuit. The components are connected end-to-end, one after the other. They make a simple loop for the current to flow round.
How a switch works
Picture 1.3. A simple switch. Closing it joins the contacts together and lets the current flow through.
How does a switch work?
A simple switch is made of a metal lever that can join up with a metal contact. When you press the switch, the two pieces of metal touch and the current can flow through it. When you open it, this breaks the circuit.
Circuit Challenge 1 - Try it now!
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Question 1
In a series circuit, the components are all connected . You can use a to control the current. Opening it the circuit. Closing it makes a complete path of for the current to flow around. The pushes the current around the circuit.