# Electricity “let it flow, let it flow, let it flow”

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Electricity “let it flow, let it flow, let it flow”

What is electricity? Electricity is the flow of electrons (or electrons moving from place to place).

What makes electrons flow (or move)? To answer that question, you need to know TWO IMPORTANT FACTS

IMPORTANT FACT #1 Electrons are part of atoms. Atoms have three particles Protons (in the nucleus) have a + charge Neutrons (in the nucleus) have no charge Electrons (outside the nucleus) have a - charge

IMPORTANT FACT #2 Particles with LIKE charges (they have the same charge) REPEL or move away from each other. Particles with UNLIKE charges (they have different charges ) ATTRACT or move toward each other.

So what makes electrons flow (or move)? Because electrons have a negative (-) charge, they move away from objects with a negative charge and move toward objects with a positive charge.

Let’s see how this works:

Electricity flows in two ways: static and current STATIC ELECTRICITY is... electricity that builds up on an object, so it has more of one type of charge (negative or positive). Then the electricity “jumps” to another object that has more of the opposite charge. This “jump” is electrons moving from the object with more negative charge to the object with more positive charges (remember, opposite charges ATTRACT!)

Balloons and Static Electricity When you rub a balloon on your hair, you create static electricity. How? First, you rub electrons off your hair onto the balloon. Your hair is now POSITIVELY charged because it has more protons than electrons. The balloon has your extra electrons, so it is NEGATIVELY charged. When you put the balloon near your hair, the electrons are attracted to the extra protons in your hair, and “jump” back onto your head. That “snap” you hear is the electrons jumping all at once.

Current Electricity Current electricity is the CONSTANT flow of electricity (not a jump) along a path. This path is called a CIRCUIT. All circuits need three things to work: an ENERGY SOURCE (where does it come from? ) an ENERGY PATH (how does it travel?) an ENERGY OUTPUT (what is the effect?)

Energy Outputs How do you know electricity is flowing? By its output. You can tell electricity is flowing if you have one of these effects: heat (toaster) light (lamp or flashlight) magnetic effect (generator) movement (fan or blender) sound (CD player, stereo, Ipod)

Two Kinds of Circuits Series Parallel All three kinds of circuits can be CLOSED (no gaps) OPEN (gaps) a SWITCH opens and closes the circuits

Series Circuits SERIES circuits have everything connected in one continuous loop. Electricity flows from one object to the next one in the loop and back to the energy source. If one object is missing or stops working, ALL OTHER OBJECTS STOP WORKING, TOO.

Series Circuit Diagram

Parallel Circuits In PARALLEL circuits, each object has its own separate loop. Electricity doesn’t have to flow from one object to the next object and back to the power source. It can flow through both objects at the same time. If one object is missing or stops working, THE OTHER OBJECT STILL HAS ELECTRICITY BECAUSE IT IS ON ITS OWN LOOP.

Parallel Circuit Diagram

Conductors and Insulators Electricity has things that HELP it flow and things that STOP its flow. CONDUCTORS help electrons to flow. COPPER is a good conductor. INSULATORS stop electrons from flowing. PLASTIC is a good insulator.

Here’s an example

Two other words to know VOLT--the way we measure the “push” of electrons through a circuit. AMP--how strong the electric current is flowing.

Don’t forget our rhyme! How does electricity flow? This little rhyme will tell you so. NEGATIVE to POSITIVE Flow, flow, flow! Electricity is so FUN!

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