Everyday Engineering: A little flash (of) lightby: Richard Moyer and Susan Everett

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The flashlight is a simple device that is composed of a lightbulb, usually two cells connected in series, a housing, a switch, and a reflector for the light. All flashlights essentially use these parts to complete a circuit that converts the stored chemical energy in the cells to light energy. In this lesson, students will take apart an inexpensive flashlight to determine how the parts work together to produce light. Students will then make a flashlight of their own design using common household materials. Like all lessons in the Everyday Engineering series, this one follows the 5E learning cycle model.

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Reviews (4)
  • on Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:55 AM

This quick article describes a 5E lesson on investigating flashlights and also students making one themselves. It is also a great lesson to consider malfunctions since flashlights can malfunction is several parts. For trivia buffs, the article gives the origin of the term "flashlight".

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:58 PM

In this lesson, the author introduce a 5E lesson to learn about the engineering behind the flashlight. Beginning with a brief history of the flashlight, students explore manufactured flashlights and engage in designing their own flashlights. This lesson enables students to investigate and explore the engineering principles behind flashlights and then expands on this knowledge by encouraging students to design their own flashlights. I look forward to trying this lesson with my students soon!

Maureen Stover  (Fayetteville, NC)
Maureen Stover (Fayetteville, NC)

  • on Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:42 PM

This is a 5E model lesson about flashlights. An activity worksheet is provided. All steps are fully explained. Extensions are provided to compare the light produced by a standard flashlight as opposed to a LED. Exploring the design and concepts behind everyday simple objects helps students make the connection between STS.

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

  • on Wed May 18, 2011 9:44 AM

Students learn the rudiments of a simple electrical circuit by disassembling an inexpensive flashlight and then reassembling it in a design of their own. Armed with a basic understanding of simple electrical circuits students move through the steps of a 5E lesson. All steps including background information is provided for the teacher. This is a great activity for budding engineers who want to create new products of their own design while learning about simple systems and the transfer of heat, light, and chemical energy

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

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