Electrical Circuits & Safety

Year 9/10 science

Introduction Questions

  1. Using what you know about electrical circuits, you need to explain some of the concepts/laws behind electricity and explain short circuits.
  2. Using the laws and concepts you explained, discuss what is technically happening when someone gets anelectrical shock.



  • Use diagrams, links, flowcharts etc to explain how basic electrical circuits work, and the requirements for them to work.
  • Explain the “laws” of electricity, and give examples of how theseaffect circuits and short circuits.


An electrical circuit is a path which electrons from a power source flow through wires/conductors. If the power source is a battery, the electrons will flow from the negative to the positive, usually stopping at a switch which users can control and allows heat and light to travel to the light bulb.
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Laws of electricity

  • Electricity flows from the negative side of the power source through to the positive.
  • Electricity flows in a path.
  • Electricity always flows through the path with least resistance (this is called a short circuit).
  • A power source/conductor is needed for electrical movement.
  • When there is resistance in the flow of electricity, it creates 2 different energies, heat and light.
  • If an electrical circuit isn't complete, the electricity will have no effect.
  • Electricity always travels downward.

short circuits

Short circuits are an unexpected path/short cut within the circuit. Electricity gets lazy, if there is a shorter way to go, then electricity will take it!

Remember: It will always take the path with less resistance!

Diagram & Link

Below, is a diagram/picture of electrons, protons & neutrons. As you can see, the orange and yellow bundle in the middle are protons and neutrons. The little blue ones flying around are electrons. That is what makes electricity.
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flow chart

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  • Given what you explained in part one, explain using an annotated diagram you design yourself, what is actually happening when someone gets an electrical shock. What can people do to avoid shocks? Discuss treatment, first aid, initialresponse if you see someone in shock.

electric shocks

In the photo below, is an animated version of having an electric shock.

When you get an electric shock, the body becomes part of the circuit. The electricity will flow from his finger in the power point and travel down through his body and exiting through his foot.

To avoid electrical shocks, use common sense. DO NOT stick a fork in the toaster, use electricity around water, stick your fingers in power points, etc.

When someone is receiving an electric shock, first turn off the power, NEVER touch the person, if you do the shock will pass through to you. If its not possible to turn off the power, use something wooden or insulated to remove them from the power source.

Then check the person is breathing and put them in the recovery position. If the person isn't breathing, you need to get help. Try resuscitating them, and call an ambulance to let them know what has happened.

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diagram of First aid for electric shocks

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