Give a 3rd grader a toy that drives and makes sound and a small screwdriver and what do you get? Well, something a bit like this:
I took a group of 8 Lower School boys and gave them a small set of screwdrivers. They supplied some old or worn down toys. Together, we tore them apart to see how they work, learn about circuits and electricity, and how gears and motors make motion in our favorite toys. Then we tried to put them back together again, with some pretty awesome mods. Of course, being boys, this last part did not go quite according to plan.
Over the course of only 6 hours spread across 6 weeks, these boys learned how circuits work, how to repair broken wires, how remote controls use buttons, what a capacitor is and how long the antenna needs to be before the signal goes kaput. They can now analyze the flow of energy through a circuit in order to troubleshoot problems with it.
What worked well:
- Letting them take apart their own toys
- Limiting the amount of help I would give them so they work together
- Giving them the screwdrivers so they are their responsibility
- Having pre made circuits to demonstrate how electricity works
- Using multimeters to read voltage
What could be improved:
- Have a bunch of toys torn apart already for spare parts
- Teach them how to sew the coverings back on
- Some of the screws were incredibly tight. Have socket wrenches to help?
- Stripped screw remover on hand
- Make them organize the parts into some kind of art piece
- Get girls into this. Why only boys?!
- Only boys signed up, probably due to stereotypes so I want to offer a girl only program.
The best part? Seeing a proud young engineer who fixed his favorite toy