Last week our students had an opportunity to work with two Electrical Engineers from the University of Calgary. Students engaged in a variety of hands-on activities that explored a variety of electrical concepts. Instructions were provided on how to perform each activity, and students recorded their observations for later analysis and design tasks.
Students explored the concepts of conductivity and voltage. In this activity, students worked in small groups, rotating through three different stations.
At the first station, students were given a simple circuit consisting of two AA batteries, an LED, wires, and a piece of copper and zinc. Students placed the copper and zinc pieces in a variety of household liquids and record their observations of the LED's brightness. In this station, students learned about conductive liquids, and how variations in conductivity can add resistance to a circuit, therefore impacting the load on the circuit, in this case dimming of an LED. After recording their observations, students were asked to design and sketch an igloo made form one of the liquids in frozen form. Their igloo had to be safe enough to live in during a thunderstorm. To complete this task successfully students had to think about insulators versus conductors, and to recognize that the least conductive liquid in their experiment would provide the most insulate igloo building material.
At the second station, students inserted copper and zinc pieces into common fruits and vegetables, and used a multimeter to measure the amount of natural voltage produced. Students recorded their data and observations about the appearance of each fruit and vegetable. Afterwards, students were asked to design and sketch a flashlight powered by on e of the fruits or vegetables that they tested. This encouraged students to be imaginative, as there was no specific right answer to this question. Students needed to justify their choice, taking into account the voltage, levels, weight, size, density, etc.
The third station was exploratory with very little structure, encouraging students to be creative and work together to create a variety of working, life-sized circuits. Students were provided with conductivity sticks - a small tube containing a circuit that requires two conductive connections to complete the circuit. Once completed, the circuit lit up and played sounds.
Students were excited to share their findings and their designs from all the stations with the rest of the class, comparing design decisions and justifications.
Circuits Through Time
Students were led through a brief overview of the main inventors in electrical engineering, including Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Swan, and Thomas Edison.
The hands-on activity encouraged students to re-create Edisons historic light bulb experiments by testing and observing how different types of wires glow when connected to a 6 volt battery. Students recorded their observation, and determined which wire creates the longest burning light.
Is Math your thing? Want to challenge yourself in Math?
Ever year, the Mount Royal University puts on a Math Contest for elementary kids. It is not an exam with a passing or failing grade, rather, an opportunity for you to challenge yourself, work with other kids who like math, and have fun.
The club will meet in Ms. Armstrong’s Room on Mondays at lunch time during March and April. The final contest is optional, and will take place at school on April 30th.
Questions? Contact Ms. DeBoice (student teacher) firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the contest visit http://blogs.mtroyal.ca/cesmc/