As the parent of young kids, it's my job to teach them all I can about how the world works. Some of this is fun and involves traveling to exotic locales and experimenting with art, but some things certainly aren't my favorite. For instance, math, technology, or anything that involves me reading a textbook and then following directions step by step.
So, you're probably wondering why I agreed to teach math and technology at my daughter’s school. I could explain that it’s the only time slot that I had access to a sitter for my little one, but the truth is that I wanted a challenge. If I’m challenging the kids to learn new things and not be limited by what they think they can't do, I also need to take my own advice, even if that means studying up on my days off.
It’s no secret that I’m literally the last person you’d ask for help with a project involving circuitry, and that’s mostly my own doing. My husband likes to give me simple ways to remember how circuits and electronics work, and I conveniently forget each time or I doubt myself when I’m actually left on my own. This is the reason I turned to Circuit Scribe. Circuit Scribe fits right in the STEM subjects I’m teaching, but unlike textbooks and worksheets, it makes learning about circuits actually fun for kids as well as their adult helpers.
The secret to the Circuit Scribe system is the special pen with conductive ink that lets you draw out the connections for your circuit instead of using wires or a circuit board. This really allows you to see how the circuit works and gets you involved more deeply than just snapping pieces together, plus it adds a whole art dimension to the project that I love.
The circuit you draw out is then used to connect different modules ranging from led lights, fans, switches, and sensors to transistors, resistors, and buzzers. By placing a metal sheet underneath your paper, you can connect Circuit Scibe's magnetic modules so they stay in place on their connection points. You can make simple two module circuits, or you can make more complicated setups that encourage you to really explore how electrical components work. When I first heard about Circuit Scribe and realized that this open-endedness meant that I actually had to know a thing or twenty about circuits, I was worried I had taken on a bit too much. The thought of using them as a class project with 25 students made me more than a little apprehensive, but I decided to dive in anyway.
When my classroom pack of Basic Kits arrived, I eagerly tested them out and had fun drawing out circuits and playing with the different modules. I was still nervous about taking a collection of circuits into class to explain to a bunch of 8-year-olds, but luckily, my fear was unfounded. I had done a little prep ahead of time and had pages copied for the class to follow along, and I had a good grasp of the concepts and the tools, and of course it worked in my favor that the kids looks forward to any change of their schedule. I hadn’t even fully handed out the kits to each group of kids before I was already seeing some learning happen. Once they saw one quick demo of a basic circuit, they were dying to try their own. I then instructed them to try some activities in their workbooks while I went around and helped them get their technique down and start using the conductive ink to draw out their circuits. Let me tell you, I teach math and technology regularly in the class and there’s never been this much excitement and laughter during my session. Even the two kids who are always suspiciously “super sick” during my instruction were thrilled to learn about circuits and combine arts, and their newly acquired cursive skills, with their required STEM instruction.
Teaching circuits isn't something I ever thought could be fun, but it turns out I was very wrong. I hope that my kids learned about more than just circuits during our exploration. I hope that they learned a little bit about believing in yourself and not getting in your own way. I also hope that they see that a good solution when trying to understand complicated stuff is to make it as bearable as possible. But, I also hope that they remember that learning about circuits was more than just bearable – it was also fun for both the kids and adults. If you have kids on your holiday list that love STEM projects, or crafty kids that love learning, you should definitely check out Circuit Scribe. You can choose between starter kits ranging from basic to advanced, or you can make your own kit by choosing the modules you would like. We started with Basic Kits and we have already added to our collection by purchasing some extra modules for the class to use.
Ready to buy? Head to CircuitScribe.com and use the code RAVE15 to save 15% off your order. Be sure to watch their videos and check out more about the company and their products, it's really fun to see all that these little modules can do!