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.
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.