Chapter 17: Electric Current, resistance & power


  1. Students should understand the definition of electric current, so they can relate the magnitude and direction of the current to the rate of flow of positive and negative charge.
  2. Students should understand conductivity, resistivity, and resistance, so they can:
  • Relate current and voltage for a resistor.
  • Describe how the resistance of a resistor depends upon its length and cross-sectional area, and apply this result in comparing current flow in resistors of different material or different geometry.
  • Apply the relationships for the rate of heat production in a resistor.

Study guide - title

Section 1: Batteries and direct current

Tutorial (Univ. of California) - Current, resistance & Power

Virtual lab (PhET @ Colorado) - Battery voltage

Virtual lab (PhET @ Colorado) - Battery-resistor circuit

Video (MIT) - Batteries & EMF

Project - Making a battery

Section 2: Current and drift velocity

Virtual lab (PhET @ Colorado) - Conductivity

Video (You tube) - Stan Lee Superhuman: Human Conductor

Video (You tube) - High voltage cable inspectors

Website - Conventional vs. electron flow

Video - Current and voltage

Section 3: Resistance and Ohm's law

Tutorial (Univ. of California) - Current, resistance & Power

Virtual lab (PhET @ Colorado) - Resistance in a wire

Virtual lab (PhET @ Colorado) - Ohm's law

Video (MIT) - Current, resistivity & Ohm's law

Section 4: Electric Power

Tutorial (Univ. of California) - Current, resistance & Power

Video (The Mechanical Universe) - Episode 32: The electric battery

Tutorial (Univ. of California) - DC circuits with batteries and resistors

Tutorial (Univ. of California) - Capacitors in circuits

Mini lab - title

AP lab - title

Virtual lab (PhET @ Colorado) - DC Circuit construction kit

Virtual lab (PhET @ Colorado) - Semiconductors

Video (Eureka) - title

Video (MIT) - Transformers, car coils and RC circuits

Video (The Mechanical Universe) - Episode 33: Electric circuits

Video (Khan Academy) - Circuits (Part 1)
  • Introduction to electricity, circuits, current and resistance

Video (Khan Academy) - Circuits (Part 2)
  • Resistors in series

Video (Khan Academy) - Circuits (Part 3)
  • Resistors in parallel

Video (Khan Academy) - Circuits (Part 4)
  • A hairy resistance problem