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Electronics for five year olds?! Answered

Hi everyone, I joined the forum and became a member because I'm getting rather starved for ideas... A community centre (or center as you spell it south of the boarder) asked me to design/ come up with some drop in classes for children and their care givers. Some kids could be as young as five, and they want the class to have an electronics, hackery, tech based focus. I've done this with 12-17 year old, but this 5 year old thing is throwing me for a loop. I'm thinking about joule thieves and home made robots, but does anyone else know of a project that's gone over really well with young kids they can share at all? I'm not sure if this is in the right category, apologies if it isn't.

Discussions

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Lithium Rain

10 years ago

How about a simple battery to light bulb project?

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killerjackalope

10 years ago

When I was five I had the best little board kit ever, it used springs as wire connectors and it could be made in to anything, I made a radio (amplified of course) a bird caller circuit that then got turned in to an evil item using the variable caps on the board.

Joule thieves sound good for an open class project, what also comes to mind is mini house circuits, taching them how to use switches and the like...

My mother still say electricity is magic and microwaves are evil, convert them at a young age to avoid this...

The quote about your mother is funny....I'm trying to bring them into the light...lol... I actually like this idea a lot....I used to have a 70s radio shack board that was a fun starter.....the card board with springs and things....I don't know if I still have it but I think they might be on ebay or copyable from somewhere..... Thanks!

They'd be great or even a kit based thing, solder up a set of kits using banana clips, simply add the male and female so the circuits always have the right polarity... You could also take apart a few microwaves and a few computers, leave the room for ten minutes and see if they manage to make a super weapon... I once accidentally creates illegal RF signals with one of those kits, using a radio transmitter circuit combined with the amp circuit, it did work really well, apart from being a mess with frequencies and all, once you tuned in you could hear your music on the right channel from some distance...

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Sandisk1duokillerjackalope

Reply 10 years ago

No one will really care if you make some RF frequencies, unless they're blocking pre-existing stations. If you don't run an illegal radio show/program, the FCC won't break down your door and arrest you on the spot...

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Big BwanaSandisk1duo

Reply 10 years ago

Read this Before you play with RF emitting circuits, a small FM or AM transmitter is one thing but anything transmitting more then emission levels, you'll be surprised at who might show up....

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Big BwanaSandisk1duo

Reply 10 years ago

Ah but Octaves of much lower frequencies are often over looked...And the clock on the DVD player was a much lower frequency then 121.5 MHz...(( They are phasing out 121.5 MHz because of the number of false alarms ))

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killerjackalopeSandisk1duo

Reply 10 years ago

Well whatever I did most of the house got static, I really didn't know how to build a circuit so it's not surprising...

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Sandisk1duokillerjackalope

Reply 10 years ago

"anything that gets hot without fire is the devil" lol i love that phrase.. So how many times has your mom "tried to get the little people out of the back of a TV?"

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killerjackalopeSandisk1duo

Reply 10 years ago

I say that often... For more reasonable reasons... She's not that bad but when I broke my arm she had to transcribe my physics as I spoke, she just kept going, what? But? Huh? How do you spell that? She was the winner or many prizes for writing, got lost completely when it came to equations and things such as delta, she wrote it then I told it was a triangle, then every symbol from then on in...

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killerjackalopeSandisk1duo

Reply 10 years ago

Well she did biology... But she's more in to writing etc. on the other hand both of us are very arty...

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Gjdj3

10 years ago

Oh, there's this great book that has a lot of projects that young kids can do. I got it a long time ago. It was pretty much my introduction to "Making". I don't remember if it was by Popular Mechanics or Popular Science.

*Runs to Go Look*

Found it! It was Popular Mechanics, and the book is called Make Cool Gadgets for Your Room. Here's the Link

I think I was about 6 when I got the book and I handled the projects pretty well. You don't need a soldering iron to do most of the projects so it seems pretty good. Some of the projects were

*Flashing and Buzzing Doorbell
*Secret Code Machine
*Keychain Finder

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Kiteman

10 years ago

How about novel ways of switching things on? give them foil, card, paper, balloons and see what sort of switches they can make. Make the thing they switch on a mystery, just two connectors on a box (with the batteries already inside the box - all they're really doing is closing a gap in the circuit), and they don't find out what it does until they make the switch. Maybe it's a birthday-card sound module, maybe it's a motor with an eccentric weight. Maybe it's a siren or flashing lights. Give prizes for the most imaginative ways they come up with.

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Sandisk1duo

10 years ago

um... what i would do, is get some breadboards, leds, resistor packs, and build simple lights. start with leds, then move on to pre-built (on breadboard) 555 oscilators, so the kids can play around with timing, then instead of an led use a speaker to create "spooky" sounds.. then move on to electro-magnets, then motors... i'm kind of running dry on ideas... tell me what you think!

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youhearditherefirstSandisk1duo

Reply 10 years ago

Thanks for that Alex. Those activities are what the older kids did as a means of learning how to build circuits/read schematics, but maybe I could do it with the younger guys on pre built boards. The fuzzy logic is pretty cool too! Wonder if it's patented yet. Thanks for your thoughts.

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gmoon

10 years ago

How about batteries, switches and wires, powering LEDs or small motors? And a VOM, to "see" the voltage and current. Make a circuit; break a circuit. Positive, negative. Simple stuff.

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westfwgmoon

Reply 10 years ago

When I did an "electricity" thing for the kids' elementary school (1st & 2nd grade), I put a bunch of motors, switches (especially REAL light switches), battery holders, and lamps onto little boards with nails as places to attach wires to. This worked pretty well. To get fancier, you could do something more like Snap Circuits, depending on your budget/etc.

As part of "science" class, all the kids made "flashlights" at some point. (paper tube, batteries, wires, lamp.)

If the "caregivers" are going to be there, that expands your possibilities.

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guyfrom7up

10 years ago

oh, and don't introduce capacitors as a device similar to a battery, got be confused for a lonnnngggg time. Introduce a capacitor as a device that resists change in a circuit, like filtering ripples and stuff.

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killerjackalopeguyfrom7up

Reply 10 years ago

I found introducing it as a 'holder' helps, then explain what it's useful for....

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guyfrom7up

10 years ago

well if anybody has anygood ideas, make sure to post in my latest forum ;) hmmm... I've never actually gotten a joule thief to work.... maybe a little flashing led? beam bots! mousey the junkbot things that have light sensors, a lot of switches, etc. maybe an optical theremin?

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youhearditherefirst

10 years ago

And I thought of throwies but I'm looking for ideas that might be collaborative between the kids and their caregivers....