Do You Have Flow?
By Jenna Herdzina and Jessica Kubacki, TEC Center Interns 2016-17
Erikson Institute’s Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center and Edward Neisser Library hosted a TEC Playdate for the Erikson community. The TEC Center demoed activities to do with young children to teach them about electricity and circuits. These 20 activities can be done in less than 20 minutes, with under $20 worth of supplies or with tools borrowed from the TEC Center Tools Collection.
Educators, parents and service providers can help children understand their environment better by fostering interest in electricity, but do you, yourself understand electricity and circuits in your everyday life?
A couple of basic concepts of electricity:
- A circuit is a closed path or loop around which an electric current flows or travels alone. A circuit is a complete path that an electrical current travels along. It can be a loop or a closed path along which the electrical current flows.
- Current means the same thing as charge flow, the flow of electrons.
- Power Source provides and/or produces fuel and energy to the circuit
- Batteries, Generators, etc.
- Load consumes the power provided by a power source
- Light bulb, Buzzer, Appliances, etc.
- Conductors are materials that allow electrical energy to flow freely serving as a connection between the power source and the load.
- Silver, copper, aluminum, iron, steel, graphite, human body, etc.
- Insulators are materials that do not allow electrical energy to flow freely (low conductance/high resistance)
- Rubber, oil, ceramic, cotton, paper, wood, plastic, air, pure water, etc.
Types of circuits:
- Closed: Energy flows in a complete circle or loop. Energy travels from the power source to the load and back to the power source without interruption.
- Open: Energy does not flow because the loop is not fully connected.
- Short: A break or interruption in the circle in which electricity stops flowing
Below is a list of supplies for all 20 activities at the TEC Center and Edward Neisser Library’s, Do you have flow? event.
Download the activities featured: final-do-you-have-flow-pdf
Energy Stick: Human Circuit Game
Graphite Pencil: Graphite Circle
9V Battery: Graphite Circle
LEDs: Graphite Circle, Play Dough Circuits intro, intermediate, advanced, LED Holiday Card, LED Wearable, Circuit Critters
Alligator Clips: Lemon Circuit, Makey Makey Piano
Zinc nail: Lemon Circuit
Copper nail: Lemon Circuit
Battery Pack: Play Dough Circuits intro
Bristle Bot Kit: Bristle Bots
1.5V DC Motor: ScribbleBots
Self-adhesive copper tape: LED Holiday Card, LED Wearable NOTE:3M Copper tape is pricier than others but is more reliable and we thank our friends at the Museum of Science and Industry for this pro tip)
Items featured from the TEC Center Tools Collection can be loaned from the Edward Neisser Library by Erikson students, alumni, faculty and staff :
Household items used:
Hot glue stick & gun
Cardboard egg carton
Insulating Dough (see QR code to take you to video in activity guide)
Conductive Dough (see QR code to take you to video in activity guide)