Electricity Unit Vocabulary

Current electricity

Electricity that flows from one point to another

Alternating Current (AC)

An electric current that reverses direction many times per second.

Direct Current (DC)

An electric current flowing in one direction only.

Static electricity

Electricity that does not flow in a current but is found in some objects when they rub together and can give an electric shock.

Series circuit

An electrical circuit in which the current passes through one part of the circuit after another

Parallel circuit

An electric circuit in which all the parts are connected directly to the electrical supply, so that each receives a part of the current

Open circuit

An electric circuit in which the path of current has been interrupted, most likely by a switch, or possibly by a break in the conductor.

Closed circuit

An electric circuit through which current can flow in an uninterrupted path


A switch is an electrical part that can open or close an electrical circuit, interrupting the current or diverting it from one conductor to another.

Dry cell battery

A dry cell uses a paste inside, with only enough moisture to allow current to flow. A dry cell can operate right-side-up or upside-down without spilling, as it contains no liquid, making it suitable for portable equipment.

Wet cell battery

A wet cell battery uses a liquid inside that is very dangerous. They can spill and are used in situations where the batteries won't tip and can be very large, like backup batteries for cell phone towers to prevent dead spots.


A conductor is a material that allows electricity to flow through it freely. All pure metals conduct electricity easily.


An insulator is a material that does not permit the flow of electricity through it.


Charge is a property of matter and can be either positive or negative.


An electrical load is a device or portion of a circuit that consumes electric power, such as a light, motor, speaker, etc.


A generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy.


A kilowatt is a measure of electrical power. The higher the number, the more powerful.

Renewable energy

Energy from a source that is not reduced when used, such as wind or solar power.

Non-renewable energy

Any natural resource from the Earth that exists in limited supply and cannot be replaced if it is used up.