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Apply the Standard Circuit Symbols

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

In the world of science, we have to talk to each other and communicate ideas a lot - this leads to scientists developing their own complex language so that they can communicate exactly what they mean with a high degree of accuracy. When it comes to electricity, however, nothing beats a good old fashioned picture to try and show what you mean! The problem is that when you are looking at drawing of them, the parts of a circuit can all look quite similar - so scientists needed to develop their own set of symbols to tell each other what they meant. just like super spies, this code allowed them to recreate electrical machines that electrocuted elephants, brought people back to life and got things to spin in circles really fast (all real electricity experiments in the 1900's). Now you too can break the code with this once in a lifetime chance to enter the world of the super scientist. Using our patented code-break tech, you can discover the hidden depths of electrical machines and recreate them yourself (only to be used with adult supervision). We are going to look at the symbols, their function and their names here and then test you on then in the questioning phase. Let's do it!

 

Component Name Function Symbol
Battery Provides a flow of electrons to the circuit. Has a positive (+ve) and a negative (-ve) terminal. Charge flows from the +ve terminal to the negative terminal. A battery is a bunch of cells all placed together.  A battery symbol
Cell Provides a flow of electrons to the circuit. Has a positive (+ve) and a negative (-ve) terminal. Charge flows from the +ve terminal to the negative terminal. A cell is a single unit in a battery (e.g. a AA battery is really a cell, but 2 AA batteries are a battery - confused yet?) A cell symbol
Switch Turns the circuits on by allowing the charge to flow around the circuit (we call this a complete circuit when a charge is allowed to flow through it). This is a really simple one, you can see the break in the circuit.  A switch symbol
Ammeter Measures the current in the circuit. Must be placed in series.  An ammeter symbol
Voltmeter Measures the potential difference across a component. Must be placed in parallel.  A voltmeter symbol
Resistor Slows the current in a particular place. They will normally have their particular resistance written inside them or just above them A resistor symbol
Lamp Shines bright like a diamond (wow - that's an out of date reference... Is Rihanna even a thing any more?) A lamp symbol
Fuse This will break the circuit if the current gets too high. A fuse symbol
Variable Resistor A resistor that can change its value of resistance. A variable resistor symbol
LDR Stands for Light Dependent Resistor (not to be confused with LED). This will change its resistance depending on the amount of light. Normally, the more light the lower the resistance.  An LDR symbol
Thermistor This will change its resistance depending on the temperature.  A thermistor symbol
Diode This is a device that will only allow current though in one direction. You see how it looks kind of like an arrow, that is the direction that the current can flow in.  A diode symbol
LED This stands for Light Emitting Diode - it's a diode that shines bright like a diamond (we need to get some better references for things that shine... Maybe Take That? No, that's even worse...) An LED symbol



 


Come back to this list after every activity you do in electricity to get a handle on these symbols and some of these words - it might take you a whole, but you'll get used to it in time. You will be expected to know all of these - maybe make a poster of them that you can use when you are doing your revision?

 

You also need to know if a circuit is working or not, This is fairly simple - if you can trace your finger through the circuit without any brakes, then it is working. If there is a break, then it is not working! (This will get more complex when we look at series and parallel circuits, but for the moment this is all you need to know). 

Match these symbols to their names.

 

Column A

Column B

Lamp
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Battery
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Cell
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Voltmeter
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Ammeter
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For each of the rows below, select the correct component to match the meaning.

 Variable ResistorLEDDiodeBatteryLDRResistor
Slows down the current by a set amount
Changes resistence depending on the light
Only allows current through in one direction
Can change its resistence
Gives off light

Match these symbols to their names, this one is going to be harder!

Column A

Column B

Diode
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Thermistor
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Resistor
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Variable resistor
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LDR
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How would you connect a voltmeter?

Parellel

Series

Dominent

How would you connect an ammeter in a circuit?

Parellel

Series

Dominant

Match the image to the description of the component.

Column A

Column B

Provides a current to the circuit
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Emmits light whilst only letting currnet through i...
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Emmits light
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Changes resistence based on tempurature.
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Breaks the circuit if the current is too high.
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Sandra is building a circuit for lighting a stage. She knows that if the current goes above 6A, then it could damage the wiring in the circuit. Name the component that Sandra could use to limit the current to below 6A. 

Max is building a circuit to operate in a fridge. He wants to be able to build a circuit to control the temperature and when the light comes on. Select the TWO components that Max needs to use as sensors in his experiment.

LED

Diode

Thermistor

Fuse

LDR

Switch

Resistor

Describe the similarities and differences between an LED and a Diode. (2 marks).

 

Describe the difference between a cell and a battery. 

  • Question 1

Match these symbols to their names.

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Lamp
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Battery
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Cell
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Voltmeter
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Ammeter
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EDDIE SAYS
Some of these you can guess - they are obvious! The one with the V in it you should be able to guess is the voltmeter and the one with the A in it should have got as the ammeter. The cell and the battery might have messed you up a bit. All you have to do is remember that a battery is a bunch of cells put together - just like a battery of gunfire is lots of gunfire, a battery is lots of cells. The one that might have messed you up a bit would have been the lamp - it literally has nothing to do with that it looks like. Luckily, this one is used so much that you cannot mistake it, it will be burned into your dreams!
  • Question 2

For each of the rows below, select the correct component to match the meaning.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Variable ResistorLEDDiodeBatteryLDRResistor
Slows down the current by a set amount
Changes resistence depending on the light
Only allows current through in one direction
Can change its resistence
Gives off light
EDDIE SAYS
As well as knowing the symbols of the components, you also need to know what they do. the best way to get to know these components is by using them in circuits, and we highly encourage you to have a go at this using low voltage battery to prevent electric shocks. But, we can't just let you have a go on here (we just don't have the technology!) so this is a really good way of testing you on what these things actually do.
  • Question 3

Match these symbols to their names, this one is going to be harder!

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Diode
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Thermistor
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Resistor
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Variable resistor
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LDR
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EDDIE SAYS
These ones are less likely to come up unless you are sitting the higher tier paper, apart from the resistor - that one you should know! if you take a look at all of these, you might start to see some patterns forming. the resistors all have a box in them - this is the universal symbol for a resistor. if it is a thermistor, LRD, variable resistor, they all have the resistor box in them. Something else is that all diodes will have the arrow, that is the diode and the LED will both have the arrow showing you which way the current is able to go.
  • Question 4

How would you connect a voltmeter?

CORRECT ANSWER
Parellel
EDDIE SAYS
The way you remember this is by thinking about what the voltmeter does. It will measure the potential difference between two places in the circuit. For it to do this it needs to be connected at two points so it can measure the difference between them, so it needs to be in parallel. Still don't get it - take a look at our series and parallel activity.
  • Question 5

How would you connect an ammeter in a circuit?

CORRECT ANSWER
Series
EDDIE SAYS
If you didn't guess correctly, then you could have worked this out by thinking about what it is that the ammeter does. It measures the current (number of electrons passing a point every second), so it needs to be in a part of the circuit that electrons will flow through. This means that it needs to be in series. Still don't get it? Have a look at our activity on series and parallel.
  • Question 6

Match the image to the description of the component.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Provides a current to the circuit
');" onmouseout="tooltip.hide();">
Emmits light whilst only letting ...
');" onmouseout="tooltip.hide();">
Emmits light
');" onmouseout="tooltip.hide();">
Changes resistence based on tempu...
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Breaks the circuit if the current...
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-->
EDDIE SAYS
For this one, you need to know both the symbol and the function of the component. These should become second nature to you and you'll want to revisit these questions a few times in order to really remember all of these symbols and their meanings.
  • Question 7

Sandra is building a circuit for lighting a stage. She knows that if the current goes above 6A, then it could damage the wiring in the circuit. Name the component that Sandra could use to limit the current to below 6A. 

CORRECT ANSWER
fuse
EDDIE SAYS
There are actually a lot of different components that could be used to achieve this. But if you want to make sure that the current doesn't go above a set amount, you will need the fuse. A fuse will break the circuit if you let it exceed a specified amount of current.
  • Question 8

Max is building a circuit to operate in a fridge. He wants to be able to build a circuit to control the temperature and when the light comes on. Select the TWO components that Max needs to use as sensors in his experiment.

CORRECT ANSWER
Thermistor
LDR
EDDIE SAYS
There are 2 important words here. One of them is a word in bold that will get you some marks! Select the two answers - even if they are both guesses, select them! The second is the word sensor. All of the pieces of equipment listed above could be sued in this circuit, but only a few of them will be sued as things that tell the circuit the temperature and the light level - these are the sensors. So, you are looking for something with temperature and something with light in their names - that leaves you with the thermistor and the LDR, right? Right!
  • Question 9

Describe the similarities and differences between an LED and a Diode. (2 marks).

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Did you remember what they do, and which one is which? They are both diodes (they both have diode in the name - think about what LED stands for), but one can give off light. Shiny!
  • Question 10

Describe the difference between a cell and a battery. 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
It\'s just one of those fundamental things that you need to remember and if we pound it into your brain now, it will be easier for you to remember it later! A battery is a collection of cells! A battery is a collection of cells! Oh, and did we mention - A battery is a collection of cells? We did, oh well - once more for good luck - A battery is a collection of cells!
Try it ---- OR ----

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