Featured in PASCO’s Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide


Features over 30 inquiry based labs covering the core topic areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics and more.

Series & Parallel Circuits

Lab Summary

Use a voltage sensor and current sensor to explore the properties of both series and parallel circuits.


This lab explores the properties of both series and parallel circuits by:

  • Measuring both circuit voltage and current while altering the voltage for a given circuit and evaluating how those measurements are related.
  • Finding the equivalent resistance of a circuit for both series and parallel resistors.



Students will gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Setting up series and parallel circuits according to an electrical schematic.
  • Using an ammeter and voltmeter to measure current and voltage in a circuit.
  • Identifying resistors and their stated (color-coded) resistance (optional).

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Voltage-Current Sensor


Allows students to safely measure voltage and current simultaneously without overloading the sensor. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

Materials Used:

Alligator clip adapters (optional) ~ 10

DC power supply, 10 V, 1 A minimum

Patch cord, 4 mm banana plug ~ 10

Resistors, at least 3 different known values ~ 3 to 6

Switch, single-pole single-throw ~ 1

Your Bundle Options:

Option 1:

Physics Starter Sensor Bundle


A sensor bundle specifically designed to get you started using probeware in your physics lab. Also: perform 26 of the 37 Lab Activities from Physics through Inquiry.

Option 2:

Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Physics through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.