Introduction: Making an Electronic Quiz Board for Kids
In this Instructable, I'll show you how my cousin's son Mason and I made an electronic quiz board together! This is a great STEM-related project to do with kids of any age who are interested in science!
Mason is only 7 years old but has increasingly shown signs of intellectual curiosity over the past few years. My cousin and her husband do a great job of encouraging that in him, and I definitely want to as well. One of the things he’s recently shown interest in is two things I was also obsessed with as a kid: crafts (anything involving a hot glue gun) and electricity. Since I was obsessed with that stuff too, I knew just the type of project I could do with him the next time we went to visit.
If you'd rather watch a build video before jumping into the Instructable, be sure to watch the full video above. If you like it, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel so I know this is the type of project people enjoy learning how to make and so that I can make more videos like it in the future!
Step 1: Gather Materials and Supplies
As the title of this Instructable implies, this project is called a "quiz board" and I found it in an electronics book for kids way back when I myself was in the 6th grade. The concept is pretty simple, but a little hard to explain So I’ll do my best as we jump in here with some crude graphics.
You start with a dry erase marker board and mount metallic contacts on the left and right sides of the board and connect them together randomly on the back. Using a simple light bulb and battery pack circuit, the two sides of the board essentially become a question and answer side. When you get an answer correct by touching two pins to the corresponding question and answer, the circuit is completed via the wires on the back and the bulb lights up. It’s not magic, it’s science!
Step 2: Design Your Board
Before heading over to work on this with him, I decided to use a local maker space laser I have access to to laser etch the marker board we would be using to make it a little more personal to him.
Using a laser cutter for this project is 100% optional, and not necessary at all. If you don't have access to a laser cutter, using some permanent or wet erase markers instead to create your design is a great alternative, especially if you have good handwriting or drawing skills (spoiler: I do not).
I also used the laser to cut the holes on my board for the light bulb, control wires, and the bolts (although I forgot to do the bolt holes before taking the photo above). If you're not using a laser cutter, this can just as easily be achieved with an electric drill and a few different sized drill bits.
Step 3: Start the Build
So with the design process out of the way, let me introduce you to Mason the Mastermind and get started with the actual build! I briefly explained the project to Mason and his eyes may have glazed over, just a little bit, but I assured him it would make sense as we went along.
One of my favorite parts of the entire project was when I told him we were going to be using his glue gun on the build. He's pretty proud of having his own and quickly scurried to the kitchen drawer to fetch it.
Step 4: Secure Bulb Holder and Bolts to the Board
Once Mason’s hot glue gun was heated up, we used it to glue the mini light bulb holder to the back of the board.
Next we worked together to put all the bolts through the board and secured them with a bolt, leaving them ever so slightly loose so that we could come back and wrap a wire around the threads later before tightening the bolts down.
Step 5: Add Wires to Back of Board
To add the wires to the back of the board, we would cut a random length of wire and then Mason would pick which two terminals the wire would terminate at. After the wires were wrapped around the bolt, we could finish tightening each nut.
If the nuts are a little hard to tighten by hand (wing nuts may be a better choice, now that I think about it) you can use a small pliers or wrench to tighten them down.
Step 6: Secure Battery Pack to Board
Next up, it was time to secure the battery pack to the back of the marker board, which meant it was once again to bring out Mason's hot glue gun. Mason likes being generous with the hot glue, so the good news is that battery pack isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
We completed this project over the course of two days due to some scheduling conflicts, hence the wardrobe change.
Step 7: Create Answer Probes
Next, we cut longer wires to serve as the "answer probes" for the quiz-taker to use when trying their luck at the questions and answers. We attached nails to the end of these wires by wrapping the wire around the end of the nail and then taping it in place with electrical tape. A nail isn't necessary here, but this way there was something more to hold onto when connecting the questions to the answers.
As an aside, one of my favorite parts of doing this project with Mason, was him, without any prompting from me, occasionally trying to guess the next step as we went along. That assured me that not only was he interested in what we were doing, but that it was all making sense to him, even if I hadn’t explained everything yet. Did I mention this was a great project to do with eager-to-learn kids?
Step 8: Create an Answer Key
After the final wire connections were made, we need to make a written answer key based on how the wires are connected on the back. That way, when creating a quiz, we will know which number on the left goes with which letter on the right. This involved looking at the back to see where the wires were hooked up and then verifying it by connecting the probes.
Step 9: Craft Your First Quiz
With all of the wire stripping, gluing and connecting of wires complete, it's time to finally craft our first quiz!
Mason is a big fan of something else I was also really into when I was his age: the solar system, so we made his first quiz about planets and other bodies in the solar system.
Step 10: Quiz Someone!
After testing it ourselves to make sure we had everything labeled correctly, we had his mom, my cousin Lisa, take the quiz.
Unfortunately, Mason has already quizzed Lisa about the solar system verbally (while in the car, for example) over the past few years so she knew most of the answers already.
But we were still able to trick her on a few of them, and Mason was really excited when she got one wrong. I told him not to fret that she got so many right though because it meant he was clearly a good teacher!
That's it! I had such a good time with Mason and I can't wait until our next project together.
If you have a little one in your life who’s hungry to learn about science and electricity, this is a fun one to do with them to help encourage them to stay curious. Nurture the heck out of that!
Be sure to watch the video above for more details, and if you like it please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel for more projects involving lasers, crafts and general making!
And as one more note, if you liked this project, Mason and I sure would appreciate your vote in the After School Challenge contest below!
Grand Prize in the
After School Challenge