Saturday, November 22, 2014

STEM Saturday: Squishy Circuits

Doesn't the word circuit sound a little like circle? Today at our STEM Saturday hour, we learned about circuits - how power flows from an energy source, through conductive materials, and back again to the source, making a circle of power! We donned our safety glasses and got to work making circuits using conductive and insulating playdough! Lots of salt in the conductive playdough makes it able to carry a current.
For inspiration, we first looked at pictures of squishy circuit creations.  Our power supplies were batteries in holders with leads (wires). We used red, green, and yellow LED lights to light up the creations we sculpted. We were careful to make complete circuits when we worked. We connected the batteries to the conductive playdough by sticking the terminals of the red and black leads into the squishy lumps. We put one of each LED leg into the same dough and watched the LED light up when the circuit was complete! We soon realized power can only flow one way through an LED and sometimes we had to turn it around to make it light up. We also learned that using different battery strengths would make the LEDs light up brighter. We all wanted to try the 9V battery!
At the beginning of our hour, we heard the story Paul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb, about a fish who swims in circles until a new friend comes along and opens his eyes. And when our hour was over, everyone had some circle cookies! There sure were lots of circles and circuits at today's STEM Saturday!

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