Who said learning couldn’t be fun? With “Operation Valentine,” a class can apply what they have learned about electric circuits and connections and end up creating a project that is sure to be a hit at home. This project not only is a great classroom project for the student building it, but the finished game/toy can also be used to help younger students practice beginning reading skills and fine motor skills. This is also a great gift to valentines of all ages. Everyone, young and old, loves those little conversational hearts, and playing this game is quite addicting!
Instructional Objective: By making the “Operation Valentine” project, students will apply their knowledge of simple electric circuits to create a game that can be used to help younger students practice beginning reading skills and fine motor skills.
To build “Operation Valentine”: grades 3 and up
To play “Operation Valentine”: ages 4 and up
Where the idea came from
I often volunteer in my son’s classroom leading math games and crafts that I have designed. I got the idea for making this game after chaperoning my son’s class in an Electric Circuit class at our local science museum. The next day, he did not have school, so he wanted to make something with circuits. I searched online trying to find ideas for making games with circuits. The game, “Operation,” kept coming up, but all the suggestions related to these game required supplies that either I did not have or that were very expensive to make. I also wanted to make a project that can be made in an hour or less with inexpensive items that most people would have in their home or classroom.
Format of the “Operation Valentine” Instructable
Since I am designing this project to not only be used to teach children as young as 8 years old about circuits but also for children and adults to enjoy this as a gift or a toy, the format of my “Operation Valentine” Instructable will be as follows:
Part I: Prep work (done by an adult)
Part II: Teacher’s instructions and project building done by students
Part III: How to play “Operation Valentine”
Part IV: Variations
Step 1: Part I, Step 1: Prep work (done by an adult): Gathering Supplies
The supplies that will be needed for each project for the prep work and for building by students are:
1 - small (1 ounce) box of conversational heart candies
1 - 9 volt battery
4 - small paper fasteners
1 – large paper fastener
1 – large paperclip
1 – piece of paper
String of lights that no longer work when plugged in
Markers or crayons
Cost: Less than $1 each
Note: I was able to purchase the boxes of heart candies for 4 for $1, and the 9 volt batteries for 2 for $1. I use 9 volt batteries instead of smaller AA batteries because the 9 volts allow the light bulb to shine much brighter.