Using a Multimeter to Analyze a Solar Circuit: Measuring Current and Voltage—Calculating Power and Resistance

Solar Circuit
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Intended Grade Level(s):
Energy Content:
Learning Goal(s):

Students will understand that voltage is a measure of a difference in electric potential energy and that current is the rate at which charge flows through a circuit.Students will understand how to measure and quantify electricity. Students will become familiar with the relationships between the fundamental electrical quantities.

Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour 30 min

Students will set up a simple circuit using a multimeter and a load resistor to measure the voltage and current in the circuit. Students will learn to use a multimeter, learn how to calculate power and be introduced to Ohm’s Law. This activity provides a good introduction to understanding the relationship between fundamental electricity quantities and could be used as a segue into talking about parallel vs. series circuit wiring.

Science Kit Material(s) Used:
1.5-Volt 500mA Solar Module
2-Volt, 500mA Solar Modules
Vernier Resistor Board
Other Material(s) Used:
DC motor w/fan • (1) 250-500 W halogen shop light • (1) Alligator test lead • “Using a Multimeter to Analyze a Circuit: Measuring Current and Voltage—Calculating Power and Resistance” lab handout • “How to Use a Multimeter Cheat Sheet” student handout