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I want to teach a hands on unit about circuits. I finally found some resources (paper) that I can use. But, does anyone know where to get the supplies to build the circuits with the kids at a low price?
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Check this website out:
Educators are eligible to receive 15% off all purchases. For over 15 years Parallax has been committed to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. Parallax provides teachers, students, and self-learners the material they need to learn micro-controller and robotics programming. A variety of educational texts and kits have been designed for hands-on learning, starting from circuit design and continuing to advanced robotics. Schools around the world use parallax tools and hardware.
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RE: Circuit Making Supplies
I'll bet you can talk to your 5th grade Science Teacher and borrow all the supplies you need. If you have a Science Lab on your campus that would be a great resource as well. And if your school ordered the eie kits like mine did, they may have ordered one of the two kits that focus on electricity, in which case you will definitely have alligator clips, wires, batteries, and the rest.
I'm in the Science Lab and my 5th grade teachers have complete sets of circuit supplies that come from the district in addition to the surplus and STEM items that I have in the lab.
Only buy what you really need!
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Do you have a science center? Sometimes you can ask your principal there might be some extra funds or try and get donors choose to get your projects funded. Another idea is to try and get some people to make donations towards your circuits.
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I have tried building simple circuits with kids, but I found http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-ac to be really helpful. The kids can visually see circuits and learn symbols associated with circuits. There are plenty of teacher resources as well.
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Good Morning, Stacia!
I checked to see if I could find anything and I couldn't find a specific link. I do know that Target will accept small grants. Also, I found a link that might help you.
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Stacy I don't know what age your students are but I bought the Snap Circuit kits for my student--the 100 & 300 Snap Circuit kit and they love it! They are not that expensive and the box says from 8 to 108 years old. Starting off my students with the Snap Circuit kit has made it easier for them to understand how circuits work. Now, some of them have been able to transfer what they learned from the kit and started creating circuits from scratch when designing STEM prototypes. I think it's a cheap investment that will go a long way for students of all ages.
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One way you can save money is to recycle Christmas tree lights.
I take strings that have one bad bulb so someone has thrown out the entire string, and cut the wires between the bulbs and attach them to cardboard. Then I buy a few wires with alligator clips and a battery holder and batteries and we are good to go.
Depending on what type of battery you plan to use, you may need a resister, I asked the guys at Radio Shack to suggest the correct one for the voltage I wanted to use (9V) but you should also be able to do this with 6V batteries or regular D-cells in series.
I have also done circuits using inexpensive lamp sockets and flashlight bulbs. We used brass fasteners and paperclips for switches.
I will attach a few pictures when I can find them later.
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You can teach kids about circuits with a 9volt, two alligator wires, and a small light! Very cheap, another thing you can do is by a cheap $1.00 flashlight, they usually come apart and have them close the circuit in groups. Just some thoughts!
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+1 on the snapcircuits
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You can get pretty cheap wire from Radio Shack (if it is still in business by you) or a hardware store. Then I would use D batteries and lights. The easiest/cheapest lights are christmas tree lights from an old strand. You can cut them apart leaving leads of about 1 inch or so. They work great. Often you can get parents to donate them.
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Another great source is Sparkfun https://www.sparkfun.com/.
I know that the OP said "hands on", but don't discount these great simulations: http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/physics
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Here is a video from the YouTube channel FunScienceDemos on circuits. There are many more demonstrations on this channel covering a variety of topics and they are all NGSS aligned. Hopefully you find this useful.
Dr. George Mehler Ed.D.,
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I agree that Snap Circuits are awesome, but a bit pricey. I found a set at the local Goodwill thrift store.
Another option is buying battery holders, alligator clips, etc. from amazon.com.
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You can also create circuits using playdough.
http://www.pbs.org/parents/adventures-in-learning/2014/02/electric-play-dough/ This is a site that shows video on how to do this.
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