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Updated March 6, 2007 

Technology Idea: Circuit Simulator


Background:

Crocodile Physics really shines in its simulation of circuitry, making it a powerful tool for the classroom.

One of the coolest features of Crocodile Physics is the ability to build circuits with pictures of actual devices - the circuit items actually can be manipulated (turned on, off) with resulting animations of bulbs lighting up (or blowing up!), fuses burning out, voltmeters pulsing, etc.

There is a very good selection of electrical components to choose from. Connecting them is very intuitive and easy - just grab the lead from a component and drag it to the next component.

One of the real advantages of this program are the included lessons. Students can be assigned to work through excellent lessons that include pre-built simulations. Students are guided through a concept, for example, parallel circuits, with instructions, tasks to perform and questions.

All sorts of measurements can be applied to all the components, very easily. For example, voltmeters and ammeters can be used to measure voltage and current in different parts of the circuit.

Crocodile Physics gets high marks for providing a great environment for free exploration of circuits - students will enjoy how easy it is to use and will have fun watching the circuits respond.

Required Technology:

Computers and Crocodile Physics (a commercial software package) is necessary for this activity. Information on acquiring Crocodile Physics can be found by clicking here.


Task:

Perform the electricity lessons in Crocodile Physics as instructed by your teacher, carefully following the directions on screen. If you don't get it the first time, try again! Answer all the questions on each page, then move to the next page using the arrows at the bottom or top of the simulation.

For example, you might choose to do a simulation on series circuits. The series circuit lesson screen looks something like this:

Click on the image for a larger view

When you have completed the simulation(s), review the answers at the end to see how you did.

Extension:

Want an extra challenge? Design your own circuitry!

Go into the electronics parts library at the bottom left corner of the Crocodile Physics screen. Drag components onto the work area and connect them to build your circuit. Explore! Try building the following:

  • any circuit tasks assigned to you by your teacher.
  • a series circuit with three bulbs - make sure it has a switch!
  • a circuit with four bulbs in parallel - you should be able to operate each bulb independently, and the whole circuit should have a
  • switch allowing you to turn off all the bulbs at once.
  • a combination circuit that has six bulbs - some connected in series, others in parallel.
  • extra hard challenge - design a series, parallel and combination circuit together in the same simulation!
Good luck! If you need further assistance, watch the Crocodile Physics Tutorial movie below for help.

Tutorial:

The following QuickTime video is a brief tutorial on how to use Crocodile Physics to simulate circuits. Crocodile Physics is a very well-featured program that simulate more than just electrical circuits, so you are urged to watch the more in-depth training videos at the Crocodile Physics website.

Copyright 2012 - McGraw-Hill Ryerson

 

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