What’s a circuit?
A flashlight. An electric toothbrush. A TV remote control.
All of these devices run on electricity. In order to power them, electricity needs to travel from one side of a power source and return to the opposite side along an unbroken path. This path, or circle of electricity, is called a circuit. In the case of a battery, electricity travels from the negative (-) end and returns to the positive (+) end.
Even as electrical systems have become increasingly complex over the years, the basic building blocks of a circuit have stayed consistent:
Circuit kits — connectable tiles that teach the basics of circuitry — have been in schools for decades.
This guide will help you create a DIY circuit kit that allows you to create some of the basic tiles found in many of these commercially available circuit kits:
- Power tiles contain batteries. Do not plug into a wall outlet!
- Input tiles contain switches or sensors.
- Output tiles contain lights, speakers, or motors.
This Guide will help you learn and teach the basics of circuitry. Through a series of challenges, you will connect tiles to make your first circuit, build new tiles, and then dive deeper into creating more complex circuits, games, and eventually integrate these tools into diverse classroom projects. While this guide is designed for teachers to learn about circuits at Edcamps and during other professional development opportunities, many of these challenges can be offered directly to students.
Table of Contents
- Challenge #1: Connect pre-built tiles to make a circuit
- Challenge #2: Make your own circuit tiles
- Challenge #3: Design more complex circuits
- Challenge #4: Make something new
- Challenge #5: Bring cardboard circuits to your students
- Materials List
- Facilitator Guide
As you make your cardboard circuits, share your work with the hashtag #MakerPromise.