About Light Bulb Resistance

Highly Recommended
Like all our Science Reasoning Center activities, the completion of the Light Bulb Resistance activity requires that a student use provided information about a phenomenon, experiment, or data presentation to answer questions. This information is accessible by tapping on the small thumbnails found on the bottom right of every question. However, it may be considerably easier to have a printed copy of this information or to display the information in a separate browser window. You can access this information from this page

The Standards
The Light Bulb Resistance activity describes a collection of simple and related experiments involving a comparison of two different types of light bulbs. Diagrams, tables and short descriptions are used to describe the results of investigating the brightness of the bulbs when configured in circuits in various ways, the appearance of their filaments under a microscope, and a comparison of flow rates through the filaments to air flow rates through straws. Questions target a student's ability to understand an experimental design, to make inferences based on experimental results from similar studies, to draw conclusions that are consistent with provided data, to identify models that are supported by two or more data presentations, and to identify an assumption associated with a conclusion.

Success with the activity requires some degree of proficiency with respect to  ...
  • Asking Questions and Defining Problems (Science and Engineering Practice 1.2)
    Ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.
  • Developing and Using Models (Science and Engineering Practice 2.1)
    Evaluate merits and limitations of two different models of the same proposed tool, process, mechanism, or system in order to select or revise a model that best fits the evidence or design criteria.
  • Developing and Using Models (Science and Engineering Practice 2.3)
    Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system.
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (Science and Engineering Practice 3.5)
    Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to a dependent variable when an independent variable is manipulated.
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data (Science and Engineering Practice 4.1)
    Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence (Science and Engineering Practice 7.4)
    Construct, use, and/or present an oral and written argument or counter-arguments based on data and evidence.
  • Cause and Effect (Crosscutting Concept 1.2)
    Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.

While the Light Bulb Resistance activity addresses the six NextGen Science and Engineering Practices and the crosscutting concept above, the activity drew its greatest inspiration from ACT's College Readiness Standards for Science Reasoning. The activity consists of 72 questions organized into 18 Question Groups that are spread across the four activities. All three strands (Interpretation of Data - IOD; Science Investigation - SIN; and Evaluation of Models, Inferences, and Experimental Results - EMI) of the College Readiness Standards are addressed in this activity. The code given for the standard includes three letters to indicate the strand and three numbers to indicate the specific standard within that strand. Higher numbers are indicative of more complex science reasoning skills. The relationship between the questions and the standards is as follows:

Complementary and Similar Resources
The following resources at The Physics Classroom website complement the Light Bulb Resistance Science Reasoning Activity. Teachers may find them useful for supporting students and/or as components of lesson plans and unit plans.

Physics Classroom Tutorial, Electric Circuits Chapter: Series Circuits

Physics Classroom Tutorial, Electric Circuits Chapter: Parallel Circuits

Physics Video Tutorial, Electric Circuits: Series Circuit Relationships

Physics Video Tutorial, Electric Circuits: Parallel Circuit Relationships

Physics Interactives, Electric Circuits: DC Circuit Builder Simulation

Concept Builders, Electric Circuits: Series vs. Parallel Circuits

Minds On Physics, Electric Circuits Module, Mission EC7: Series Circuit Concepts

Minds On Physics, Electric Circuits Module, Mission EC8: Parallel Circuit Concepts

The Calculator Pad, Electric Circuits, Problem Sets EC9 - EC14