Shoe Box Circuitsby: Cody Sandifer

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Students’ eyes grow wide with wonder as they get a motor to work or make a bulb light for the first time. As these daunting feats of electrical engineering remind us, teaching electricity is invariably rewarding and worthwhile. In this inquiry-based science project, elementary students work in pairs to design and wire a shoe box “room” that meets well-defined circuit requirements. In so doing, the students solidify their understandings of electricity and gain a better understanding of the ways in which electricity concepts are related to the electrical circuits in their homes.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

Community ActivitySaved in 1338 Libraries

Reviews (6)
  • on Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:51 AM

This article provides a wonderful example of the design aspect of engineering appropriate for an elementary classroom that is exploring simple circuits. Everything is provided in the article starting with the materials through the assessment portion. In reality this is really a STEAM project because their shoeboxes are decorated as well. This article is a great example of how engineering can be incorporated into an elementary learning experience.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:55 PM

This article provides the framework for an excellent hands-on electricity learning activity. The author begins the article by outlining the key concepts explored in the activity and then details each step in the process making this an excellent article for teachers who are unfamiliar with electrical circuits. The article includes excellent diagrams and information on installing circuits. The author also includes notes on class discussion and extension ideas. This is an excellent article and I look forward to trying this activity with my students soon!

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Sun May 08, 2011 3:29 PM

Engaging, inquiry based, cooperative learning, multi-day project for upper elementary and low middle school leveled students. Detailed procedures allow for all educators to understand simple circuitry.

Alyce Dalzell  (Peyton, CO)
Alyce Dalzell (Peyton, CO)

  • on Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:03 AM

This article describes an extension activity for upper-elementary or even middle school students after a unit on electrical circuits. If it is not possible for students to complete the hands-on project, they may consider doing so using a computer simulation circuit builder.

Lara  (New Haven, CT)
Lara (New Haven, CT)

  • on Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:57 PM

This article focuses on a hands-on electrical project for 4th and 5th grades. It goes beyond just another hands-on activity for learning, it allows students to make a connection with their own lives and create a working model. This would be a great activity to do in the classroom and would definitely be engaging! I cannot wait until I can try it out with my own students. Directions, concepts, materials, and discussion/report are written out clearly that any teacher could follow. There is even an enhancement section, that allows you to take this project even a step further. Definitely recommend!

Alisa Kunhavijit
Alisa Kunhavijit

  • on Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:24 PM

This article Shoebox Circuits helps teachers take the batteries and bulb units further than just the hands-on piece. The article describes an activity that would be a possible assessment for the earlier learning. The students are expected to draw a blueprint of how they would wire their shoe rooms and then they have to see if it really works. I recommend this article.

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)

Free - NSTA Members

$1.29 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.