Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Jump starting a car

At the right is shown the start of a basic diagram of a car's electrical system.   The starter motor is shown, with a switch that turns on when you turn the key all the way.  

  1. Make a copy of the diagram and draw in the radio and the headlights. Explain your reasoning for connecting them as you did.
  2. When you jump start a car, you connect another car's battery terminals + to + and - to -.   Explain why, using the ideas in this course, and include what would happen if you connected the terminals + to - and - to + .

Problem by D. Hammer

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Page last modified March 18, 2006: E38