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More options Aug 27 2012, 2:19 pm
From: Mason <mas...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2012 13:19:36 -0500
Local: Mon, Aug 27 2012 2:19 pm
Subject: Re: [PS1-Public] Re: need some ideas on teaching EE to kids
True. The fundamentals of EE are how voltages and currents change, and
how they can be used to model real things.

Something like a really big RC circuit and an oscilloscope or light
bulb, set it up to model the height of a ball that's dropping or
something like that. Use a pot/rheostat and the kids can play with
getting an accurate timing. The math is directly applicable -- RC time
constants modeling real-world stuff. It's an old-school solution, but
it works for a reason.

You can also use graphite as a (highly resistive) wire -- draw on a
piece of paper, touch two probes to it, and it'll complete a circuit
and light up a bulb. Moving the probes across the graphite changes the
resistance and thus the brightness of the bulb. They can experiment
and work out how much current is going through the piece of paper and
how much resistance is in their drawing.

--
Mason Donahue
mas...@gmail.com

On Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM, Celtwolf <celtw...@gmail.com> wrote:
> okay, i see that robotics and arduino projects are being suggested a lot.
> i'm not saying that those aren;t great learning tools, but this is,
> predominantly, about  teaching the VERY basics of electronics engineering to
> 7th graders. arduino, and to some extent robotics, requires some
> programming. i'm not saying that 7th graders are incapable of learning the
> programming required, nor am i saying these ideas aren't awesome to get kids
> into, but i don;t think they're good introductions to how all electronics
> work. start these kids off with arduino and robots, and you'll be over their
> any, of the reasons why any of it works.
> start simple, get the kids understanding how electricity works the way it
> does, then let the kids branch out into more advanced stuff. if someone
> WANTS to get into making, like, cap bots, or making an arduino
> somethingorother, help them along and give them the resources, but don't
> make that the curriculum.

> On Saturday, August 25, 2012 8:58:58 AM UTC-5, Ben Collins-Sussman wrote:

>> Hi guys!  Looking for advice...

>> I've volunteered to do some STEM teaching this fall at a middle school
>> down at 47th and Ashland.  The program is http://www.citizenschools.org/ ,
>> and looks pretty cool.  Three of us go in for 1.5 hours every Tuesday and
>> give the kids some hands-on workshops.  The idea is to have them build stuff
>> while learning math/science/engineering, and hopefully build up a lot of
>> confidence.

>> My group of three has volunteered to teach basic EE, and they've given us
>> a 10-week curriculum which suggests which activities to do each week.  The
>> curriculum is OK, but a bit boring -- it basically teaches kids intuition
>> about what a circuit is, using nothing but wires, a battery, light bulb, and
>> switch.  It lets them experiment with wiring either bulbs or batteries in
>> parallel or in series, but there's no actual math going on (V=IR, P=IV,
>> etc.).   The hands-on projects are mainly about wiring up imaginary houses
>> (cardboard boxes) with circuits that they design.  Then the "final
>> presentation" they give to parents and peers is some sort of gadget they
>> design and build themselves... light up jewelry, a goofy lamp, etc.

>> Our general problem is that we feel there isn't enough "bang" here.
>> Really, can you keep 13-year-old kids learning and entertained for 10 weeks
>> using nothing but batteries and light bulbs?  The final project is supposed
>> to be crazy-exciting;  in fact we're supposed to tell the kids about the
>> final project so they're inspired to work up to it.  But "make your own
>> flashlight" doesn't seem very exciting as a final project compared to, say,
>> a Van de Graff Generator shooting lightning.  :-)

>> So I'm looking to my fellow makers here -- what's a crazy-exciting EE
>> project that these kids can work towards?  (We have license to modify the
>> curriculum however we want.)

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