Every Thursday on the EiE Blog, we bring you helpful tips and resources for teaching elementary engineering.
When my husband was in grad school, working on a degree in education, he wanted to take a couple of computer science courses . . . but they were reserved for computer science majors, which he wasn’t, so he was shut out. Then he discovered you could take the courses if you declared a minor in electrical engineering. Problem solved!
He never drew a schematic diagram or touched a wire or did anything with electricity, he just took programming courses. Today, every time he tapes a frayed electrical cord, he jokes, “I’m not a real electrical engineer, I just play one in this movie.”
If your electrical engineering experience (or lack thereof) is similar to his, and if you’re going to be teaching Engineering is Elementary’s electrical engineering unit (An Alarming Idea: Designing Alarm Circuits), then maybe you’re feeling . . . well, alarmed! We can help.
Some teachers tell us they find prepping for Lessons 3 and 4 of this curriculum unit (which calls for students to build a circuit from a schematic diagram) a little daunting. How can you help your students build circuits if you’ve never done so yourself?
You’ll see a set of five videos that show you how to . . .
- Strip a wire, using a special tool
- Make a circuit by connecting wires to a battery and light bulb in the proper order
- Understand the difference between series and parallel circuits
- Wire up a buzzer (with tips for avoiding the pitfalls)
- Construct the model “water trough” needed for the final design challenge in Lesson 4
- Keep kids safe as you avoid short circuits, which are a fire hazard
Your Alarm Circuits Teacher Guide also has detailed instructions on prepping for Lessons 3 and 4, but sometimes a picture really is worth the proverbial thousand words.
These videos are intentionally designed to be viewed by someone who has no previous knowledge of electrical engineering. Each video takes just a minute or two to watch. And if you didn’t quite catch all the details, you can watch it again . . . and again, if you wish. You’ll be wiring circuits like an electrical engineer in no time, ready for your close-up!