# Introduction to Electricity

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## Introduction: Introduction to Electricity

This breadboard is designed to introduce 11-12 year old students to the most elementary laws of electricity (such as, e.g. a simple electrical circuit, simple switches, electrical loads, series and parallel circuits of electrical loads and batteries) by the means of simple experiments. There is a comprehensive teaching guide in German attached (note: some images may not be shown properly by internet browsers; download the file to your computer and opening it offline may solve that problem) .

CAUTION:
ELECTRIC CURRENT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY! ALL EXPERIMENTS MUST BE SUPERVISED BY A RESPONSIBLE ADULT! USING THE BREADBOARD IS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

## Step 2: Experiment 1 - a Simple Electrical Circuit

For this first experiment, a common light bulb (E10), a 1.5V-battery (AA) and wire are required. The goal is to turn the light bulb on.

What needs to be done? Try different ways!

CAUTION:
ELECTRIC CURRENT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY! ALL EXPERIMENTS MUST BE SUPERVISED BY A RESPONSIBLE ADULT! USING THE BREADBOARD IS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

## Step 3: Experiment 2 - Electric Conductors and Electric Non-conductors

For this experiment, a common light bulb (E10), a 1.5V-battery (AA), wire (as for the first experiment) and two wires with alligator clips are required. The latter must be connected through different objects as shown in the photo - such as, e.g., wooden and plastic rulers, scissors, keys, etc. The goal is to turn the light bulb on.

What kinds of material makes it shine, i.e. is an electric conductor, and which are non-conductors? Try as many as you can!

CAUTION:
ELECTRIC CURRENT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY! ALL EXPERIMENTS MUST BE SUPERVISED BY A RESPONSIBLE ADULT! USING THE BREADBOARD IS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

## Step 4: Experiment 3 - Simple Electric Switches

For this experiment, a common light bulb (E10), a 1.5V-battery (AA), wire,two wires with alligator clips (as for the second experiment) and a clothespin are required. The latter must be prepared as shown in the photo, so that it can serve as a push-to-break switch or as a push-to-make switch. The goal is to turn the light bulb on.

What needs to be done with a push-to-break switch, and what with a push-to-make switch? Compare both kinds of switches with electric switches on some of your devices at home (NEVER MANIPULATE OR OPEN THEM) - such as, e.g., the keys of a computer keyboard, the switch for your door bell and for the light in your room.

CAUTION:
ELECTRIC CURRENT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY! ALL EXPERIMENTS MUST BE SUPERVISED BY A RESPONSIBLE ADULT! USING THE BREADBOARD IS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

## Step 5: Experiment 4 - Series and Parallel Circuits of Electrical Loads

For this experiment, two light bulbs (E10), a 1.5V-battery (AA) and wire are required. The goal is to turn both light bulbs on.

In what ways can the two light bulbs be connected with the battery? Compare the brightness of the light bulbs in series and parallel circuits!

CAUTION:
ELECTRIC CURRENT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY! ALL EXPERIMENTS MUST BE SUPERVISED BY A RESPONSIBLE ADULT! USING THE BREADBOARD IS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

## Step 6: Experiment 5 - Series and Parallel Circuits of Batteries

For this experiment, a two light bulbs (E10), two 1.5V-batteries (AA) and wire are required. The goal is make both light bulbs shine even brighter than in the preceding experiment 4.

Think of the two ways both batteries can be connected (remember experiment 5: two ways to connect to light bulbs) and try to predict what way will lead to the goal! Then try it out and compare the outcome to your prediction!

CAUTION:
ELECTRIC CURRENT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY! ALL EXPERIMENTS MUST BE SUPERVISED BY A RESPONSIBLE ADULT! USING THE BREADBOARD IS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

## Step 7: This Is Where the Fun Begins - Building the Electric "wire Loop Game"

If you have achieved all goals of the preceding experiments, you should now be able to build electric games, such as the "wire loop game". The goal is to maneuver the wire loop around the so-called "hot wire" from one end to the other (the light bulbs on either end will be turned on) without touching the "hot wire" (a sound would be emitted if you did).

Before manufacturing, try to understand the schematic shown in the second photo. If you need help, compare the product and the schematic as shown in the fourth photo!

For the manufacturing, you need a board (as indicated in the datasheet, see step 1), a battery clip for two 1.5V batteries (AA or AAA), a two-way switch (single pole, single throw), a piezoelectric speaker, two light bulbs (E10) and corresponding sockets (compare the datasheet in step 1), wire and cable end sleeves. The latter are immersed into the board and used for the soldering of the wires (see the third photo for details).

CAUTION:
DRILLING, SOLDERING AND ELECTRIC CURRENT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY! MANUFACTURING MUST BE SUPERVISED BY A RESPONSIBLE ADULT! USING THE GAME IS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

## Step 8: This Is Where the Fun Begins - Building the Electric "straight Shot Game"

If you have achieved all goals of the preceding experiments, you should now be able to build electric games, such as the "straight shot game". The goal is to turn on the light bulb by maneuvering the wire at the end of the handle through all eye screws without touching a screw (a sound would be emitted if you did).

Before manufacturing, try to understand the schematic shown in the second photo. If you need help, compare the product and the schematic as shown in the fourth photo!

For the manufacturing, you need a board (as indicated in the datasheet, see step 1), a battery clip for two 1.5V batteries (AA or AAA), a two-way switch (single pole, single throw), a piezoelectric speaker, one light bulb (E10) and corresponding socket (compare the datasheet in step 1), wire, five eye screws (M3, diameter of the "eye" 10mm) and cable end sleeves. The latter are immersed into the board and used for the soldering of the wires (see the third photo for details).

CAUTION:
DRILLING, SOLDERING AND ELECTRIC CURRENT CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY! MANUFACTURING MUST BE SUPERVISED BY A RESPONSIBLE ADULT! USING THE GAME IS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

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## 8 Discussions

I'm extremely new to electrical design so I'm wondering about a few possibly obvious things. Are the connections mounted in the clothespin insulated against the wood? By which I mean you're dealing with any/higher currents/amps/volts/etc is there any sort of heat build up in materials the electrical components are attached to even if they aren't conductors without the presence of electrical insulation? For instance if a bare wire that was part of an active system was in contact with wood or plastic, depending on the currents/amps/volts/etc what would happen? If the material was a conductor what would happen?

2 replies

P.S.:

1. Are the connections mounted in the clothespin insulated against the
wood?

-> They are not insulated against wood, (dry) wood is an insulator.

Compare "Experiment 2 - electric conductors and electric non-conductors" (step 3)

2. By which I mean you're dealing with any/higher
currents/amps/volts/etc is there any sort of heat build up in materials
the electrical components are attached to even if they aren't conductors
without the presence of electrical insulation? For instance if a bare
wire that was part of an active system was in contact with wood or
plastic, depending on the currents/amps/volts/etc what would happen?

-> A perfect insulator doesn't exist. Electric insulators have a specific resistivity. Therefore, any insulator is designed and built to meet a specific electric voltage and current (together, voltage and current define the electric power: P = I x V). If the voltage or the current exceed the specified limits of an insulator, the latter will brake down (so called "electrical breakdown"), and will allow the flow of current.

3. If
the material was a conductor what would happen?

-> This would create a short-circuit, i.e. an electric current that allows a current to 'travel' along unintended paths with no (or very low) electric resistance (so called "impedance"). It results in an excessive electric current, and it can cause circuit damage, overheating, fire or explosions.

Hi Daneel,

You are right, of course: wood is an insulator, but it can be heated (and eventually burned) by electric current. The breadboard proposed in this instructable is, therefore, designed to be used with electric current limited to 2x 1,5V; 2x2600mAh and for short periods of time, only! The experiments shown here only take some minutes. However, caution must be taken, when experimenting with electric current. For example, short-circuiting (also called hot-wiring) can heat up even a simple 1,5V-battery considerably!