Monday, November 7, 2016

Teaching 5th Grade Electronics

I'm pleased to say that I'm shaping young minds into engineers, leading an after-school club called Technology - Robotics - Innovation at my daughter's elementary school.

Week 3 is coming up this Thursday.

Week 1 was introductory and included a fun bridge-building team exercise where we got to flex our teamwork and problem-solving muscles. 

Week 2 the kids had fun learned about electronics: voltage, current, LEDs and built their own LED circuit on breadboards. 

Great news: half the kids build non-working circuits. Exactly what I'd hoped for! See, I didn't tell them that LEDs conduct current in one direction so that they could learn through thinking and discovery. 

Students came up with great ideas on what might be wrong and some discovered that flipping the battery connections lit the LED (nice!). When I told them about LEDs and diodes, they fixed their circuits by flipping the LEDs.

We'll build on the LED circuit and their light-sensing soldering kit circuit to develop sensors for line following. After Thanksgiving, they'll build team robots. Then we'll start on programming!

I plan to publish the curriculum and materials as open source / creative commons for others to use and help us improve it.

This is a dream come true. I've been wanting to teach these things for several years now and I'm super excited to finally have that opportunity!

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