Circuitry Workshop Information for Parents
Dear 3rd and 4th Grade Parents,
We were immersed in Circuitry Workshop for the last few weeks of science. This unit focused on basic information about electricity, circuits and safety, but the primary purpose was to cultivate a “workshop mentality” in the science room. The emphasis was on trying out new ideas, persistence, collaboration and using materials with care.
Many parents have asked for a list of materials and resources so that their children can continue experimenting and building circuitry projects outside of school. Here are some basics if your family is interested in keeping things going at home.
Circuitry Workshop Shopping List:
You probably have many of the supplies you need at home. The list below provides some suggestions (not endorsements) of the types of products that have worked well in class.
- Small light bulbs and wire (“Burnt out” tree lights are the best source for wire and working bulbs, your kids will know how to cut them out and strip the insulation)
- 9V batteries (9 Volts)
- AA or D batteries (1.5 Volts)
Nice to have:
- Wire cutters and strippers (Most pliers also have a wire cutting section)
- 9V Battery Holders and AA battery holders (Kids can easily build their own battery holders with wire and tape but having them does make things easier)
- Motors 1.5-9 Volts (You can buy other motors that are rated for 1.5-3 Volts but they will overheat quickly when used with 9V batteries)
- Electronic Buzzers 3-24 Volts
- LED lights and resistors (We did not study resistors but did learn about resistance when we made conductive and insulating doughs)
- Alligator Clips
- Snap Circuits Kits
- Cardboard, recycling items, pipe cleaners, old wheels, gears, popsicle sticks, tape
We continually reiterated these safety rules during Circuitry Workshop.
However, you should review the rules again at home.
- Never put anything in wall outlets. (120 Volts!)
- Never use more than 9V when building projects independently. Do not hook up 9V batteries in series to create higher voltage circuits.
- Disconnect circuits when finished and store batteries correctly (vertically).
- Never create a short circuit by leaving batteries connected to wires without a lightbulb, motor or other “load.”
Online resources we used in our studies:
I highly recommend this site and its companion, BrainPOPJr. It gives age-appropriate (BrainPOPJr would be best for 3rd and 4th graders) and clear introductions for a variety of topics and may be worth subscribing to at home. This video is available without a subscription.
This site explains a project we did in class using the copper and zinc in pennies to create a working battery.
This site provides recipes for the conductive and insulating dough we made in class. I made a gluten free version replacing the wheat flour with one part cornstarch and one part rice flour.