A couple of weeks ago, we turned our classroom into a giant circuit. I filled a battery (bucket) with energy (pattern blocks) and connected a wire (yarn) from the battery to a light (a student standing by a bucket and holding a yellow light in the air.) Then, we connected the wire back to the battery to demonstrate that the electricity in a circuit needs to go in a complete circle. The remaining students walked along the wire picking up energy, then brought it to drop off in the bucket in front of the light. We observed the effects of resistors (two students London-bridging over the wire) and what happens when there's a break in the circuit. I wish I had taken a picture of this activity- it's SO fun for the kids.
This week, my students made circuit board review games to revisit some geometry skills before the mid-year math test. I will post a picture on Wednesday next week.
I introduced the project and one student exclaimed, "WOW! It's a mixture of science and math!!" :0)
I gave directions for how to make the circuit board- how to set up the battery, light, and connecting wires. They had to figure out how to make the light work when touching the long wires to the matching question and answer brads. They knew that the electricity in a circuit had to travel on a circular path- all they had to do was connect the question and answer brads on the back, and voila- they had a home-made light-up matching game!
After about eight tense minutes of problem solving, a student figured out the solution,
"I DID IT!" she squealed.
The other students rushed over to try to peek at the solution, but she and her partner concealed their board.
Eventually, I helped the students who weren't so quick to catch on, and it was a great learning experience for everyone. (And we used the boards the next day for math!)
Here's how to set the board up:
- Students worked in groups of 2-3.
- We used cardboard for the main part of the game. It was a little flimsy, but the students could push the brads right through and poke a pencil through for the light bulb hole.
- I had the kids glue graph paper to the cardboard to keep their writing and brads straight.
- I printed out some geometry worksheets from Superteacherworksheets.com for the kids to use for the questions and answers.
- Have students tape the light fixture and battery securely to the back of the board.
Next time I have my class complete this project, I'll have them use a shoebox instead of a piece of a box. That way, all of the circuit parts will be hidden inside of the box. The brads will go in the lid.