Here is an excellent unit project that I use in my classroom. The students absolutely love building these circuits and the best part is that you don't need high tech circuit tools and supplies to complete this!
What is it?
This is a UNIT PROJECT that I use with my gr.9 students during the electricity unit. Instead of giving them notes and lecture on the differences between a series and parallel circuit, I briefly prep them with basic intro information (see my other post on the Keynote presentation), and have them go to town with 4 different tasks.
The UNIT PROJECT has 4 circuit building tasks but the grading is stratified. Task 1 is building a series circuit, Task 2 is building a parallel circuit, Task 3 is building the electrical loop game, and Task 4 is building the "Operations" game.
If students build Task 1 & 2, they are graded to 60%, Tasks 1, 2 and 3 will be up to 80% and all tasks will be graded to 100%. This will provide students the opportunity to choose but at the same time, providing every student to have the opportunity to receive 60%.
Task 1 - Build a series circuit with 3 light bulbs and 1 switch
Task 2 - Build a parallel circuit with 3 light bulbs with 3 switches
Task 3 - Build the Electrical Loop game.
Task 4 - Build the "Operations" game.
This is the best part! Instead buying expensive light bulbs and switches, the lightbulbs used are Christmas light bulbs you buy during the season. You can buy a long strip of 150-200 bulbs for $6! You get the students to strip the wire and use the bulbs!
Wires? Instead of wires, we are using aluminum foil as the wires. This will give the students the understanding of conductors and insulators as well.
Circuit boards?Card board that you can find around the school or at home!
Switch? The switch is simple, just use aluminum foil!
My students have thoroughly enjoyed this activity over the span of 5 days of 75 min classes. I have stopped the classes for brief explanations and videos here and there but the activity should take a good amount of time from the initial stages of frustration (My circuit doesn't work) to troubleshoot (students helping each other out in figuring out where their circuit is not connecting).
There are 2 question summary sheets at the end for the students to follow along.
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