Electricity results from the movement of charged particles along a path called a circuit. Electric current, the rate at which charges move along a conductor, is measured in units called amperes, or amps. The amount of current in a conductor can be measured with an ammeter.
Just like a rock poised at the top of a hill, electrical charges can have potential energy, the energy of position. The difference in the potential energy between two points along a conductor is referred to as the voltage of the current. Even though it is not actually a force, voltage can be thought of as the driving force behind an electrical current. Voltage, which is measured in volts, can be read with a voltmeter. Devices such as batteries provide voltage.
A circuit must be closed for an electric current to travel along it. Circuits can be opened by switches, which are important components of most appliances. When an appliance is turned off, the switch is open and electricity cannot travel through the circuit. Closing the switch completes the circuit and allows electricity to flow.
In this experiment, you will measure the current and voltage of an electrical circuit.
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