Activity: Identifying Circuits

Identifying Circuits


Students have an opportunity to examine the workings of a power seat circuit system. Students will be able to identify a switch, motors, power souce, and circuit system running throughout the chair. There are four different circuits operating within the system: tilt up, tilt down, rear/ forward, up/down.

Challenge students to identify and trace the different circuit components of the system, creating a stimulating and engaging interactive activity!

Featured Trade: Automotive Service Technician

Contributors: Brianne Hutchinson, Warren Anderson, Dave Cole

Concept: Mechanisms Using Electricity

Grade(s): 5

Time: 15 minutes

Accompanying Resources


Preparation: Have power seat circuit board plugged into an electrical outlet and test to make sure all the components are working properly.

  1. Introduce students to power seat circuit board and how this is what is beneath the seat in your vehicle. Discuss how this is considered an electrical device and its purpose.
  2. Inform students that a power seat uses circuits to operate. Have students identify (or even label) the power source, switch, and motors that they see.
  3. Using the switches, operate the power seat. Discuss with students what happens when the switches work and circuit closes. Some potential questions could be: What moves? Where? What purposes do you see? Why? Which motor does what? How many complete circuits can you identify with this power seat?
  4. Notice with students that there is more than one circuit, and they all have different purposes. What are they? Notice the different colours. Using the colours, challenge students to trace the circuits and identify the different components of each circuit system.
  5. Wrap up with a discussion using some of the following questions:
    • What is the purpose of this electrical device? How does this benefit us?
    • What is the importance of each of these circuits to the working of this device?

Teacher Notes

  • Switch 1 – uses blue and yellow wires to motor 1. This makes the front of the seat tilt up or down.
  • Switch 2 – uses dark blue and green wires to motor 2. This makes the back of the seat tilt up or down.
  • Switch 3 – this one uses all motors. The tan and light green wires go to motor 3 to move the seat forward and backward. This switch also connects to motor 1 and motor 2 to move the seat up and down. *This is a great opportunity to challenge students with more than one circuit for this switch.
  • The orange and black wires are the positive (+) and negative (-) currents for the battery so the power seat can operate.
  • If students ask about a fuse, it is on the wire to the battery.
  • If students ask about a resistor, there is not one on the power seat.
  • The connectors house the wires.

Fig 1.1 – Description of image.

Fig 1.2 – Description of image.

Curriculum Outcomes


5–6 Construct simple circuits, and apply an understanding of circuits to the construction and control of motorized devices.


1) Identify example applications of electrical devices in the school and home environment and classify the kinds of uses. Categories of electrical use may include such things as: heating, lighting, communicating, moving, computing.

3) Recognize the importance of switches and other control mechanisms to the design and operation of electrical devices and identify purposes of switches in particular applications.

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