Brought to you by the Alameda County Library:
Squishy Circuits in action at the Newark Library
Squishy circuits are a neat way to have students learn about some of the basic properties of electricity through tinkering and problem solving.
But where is the math?
Besides problem solving to troubleshoot their design, students have a chance to engage in some measurement and data. In each of the 2nd through 5th grade CCSS standards, students have to measure something and put it on a line graph. The difference has to do with the scale on the line graph, 2nd is to the nearest whole number, 3rd includes halves and fourths, and 4th adds eighths.
So after your students engage in problem solving to test and make their squishy circuits, they’ll measure the distance between the LED and the battery and add that to the class graph. After all groups add their data, they identify the longest distance. Then ask them to make a conjecture about the longest possible distance and build it to see if it works. All the circuits that work should be added to the class graph. If time and interest, repeat until you’ve found the maximum distance. An example student lab sheet can be found here.
-Jim Town, Mathematics Specialist at ACOE