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In earlier grades, these concepts were introduced: electrical conductors and insulators; and a complete loop is needed for an electrical circuit that may be parallel or in a series. In this course, circuits are explained by the flow of electrons, and current, voltage and resistance are introduced conceptually to explain what was observed in middle school. The differences between electrical conductors and insulators can be explained by how freely the electrons flow throughout the material due to how firmly electrons are held by the nucleus.
By convention, electric current is the rate at which positive charge flows in a circuit. In reality, it is the negatively charged electrons that are actually moving. Current is measured in amperes (A), which is equal to one coulomb of charge per second (C/s). In an electric circuit, the power source supplies the electrons already in the circuit with electric potential energy by doing work to separate opposite charges. For a battery, the energy is provided by a chemical reaction hat separates charges on the positive and negative sides of the battery. This separation of charge is what causes the electrons to flow in the circuit. These electrons then transfer energy to other objects and transform electrical energy into other forms (e.g., light, sound, heat) in the resistors. Current continues to flow, even after the electrons transfer their energy. Resistors oppose the rate of charge flow in the circuit. The potential difference or voltage across an energy source is a measure of potential energy in Joules supplied to each coulomb of charge. The volt (V) is the unit of potential difference and is equal to one Joule of energy per coulomb of charge (J/C). Potential difference across the circuit is a property of the energy source and does not depend upon the devices in the circuit. These concepts can be used to explain why current will increase as the potential difference increases and as the resistance decreases. Experiments, investigations and testing (3-D or virtual) must be used to construct a variety of circuits, and measure and compare the potential difference (voltage) and current. Electricity concepts are dealt with conceptually in this course. Calculations with circuits will be addressed in the physics syllabus.