Maker Experiment #1

Assignment Description

This week’s CEP 811 assignment is centered on creating a lesson where students use their Maker Kits (Squishy Circuits) in the classroom.  In addition, this lesson will have strong connections to learning theories we have studied throughout our MAET experience.  Overall, I am excited to dive even deeper into using Squishy Circuits and see how they can be utilized in the classroom setting.

Lesson Plan

Title: Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh Faces

Time: 40 minutes

Subject: Science

Grade: 2

Objectives:

  • Students will be able to create a working circuit.
  • Students will be able to create a face using the Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh materials provided.

Materials:

  • Conductive dough
  • Insulating dough
  • Play-Doh

Beginning

  • The students will read their two objectives written on the whiteboard silently first and then all together as a class so they know from the beginning what will be expected of them to have accomplished at the end of the lesson.
  • The teacher will introduce Squishy Circuits using the following YouTube video as an anticipatory set: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDZo51k2BWQ  This video will help students gain an understanding of the tools they will be working with.  Also, it will hopefully put their minds and anxiety at ease with working with electronics.
  • The teacher will pass out the Squishy Circuits and Play-Doh to allow students to play on their own for five minutes.

Middle

  • The teacher will begin with instructions for the students to create their faces using both their Squishy Circuits and Play-Doh.  The instructions are as follows:
  1. Using the conductive dough first, roll one little piece into a ball.
  2. Now, roll a larger piece of conductive dough into a cylinder shape so it looks like a snake.
  3. Next, roll a piece of insulating dough into a cylinder shape just as big as the one you just finished.
  4. Wrap the insulating dough snake around the conductive dough ball.
  5. Then, wrap the conductive dough snake around the insulating dough snake.  Make sure the two pieces of conductive dough are not touching.
  6. You should have two pieces of conductive dough separated by one piece of insulating dough.  Also, the overall shape should be that of a round circle.  If your shape does not look like this, reformat the dough with your hands.
  7. Using the battery pack, put the black wire into the outer ring of conductive dough, and put the red wire into the inner ring of conductive dough.
  8. Using Play-Doh, students can build their faces on top of their round shape as creative as they would like using any colors, styles, and formations.
  9. Insert the LED lights on top of the face after the face has already been made and placed on top of their round shape.  Insert the LED lights so one leg of the LED is stuck in the outer conductive dough, and the other leg of the LED is stuck in the inside conductive dough.
  10. Have fun, and enjoy your new creation!
  • The teacher will go through each direction step-by-step while walking up and down the rows monitoring students at their individual desks.

End

  • After creating their Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh faces, students will put all of their materials away and come back together as a class.
  • The teacher will pair students up in groups of two and ask them to take turns explaining the thought process behind the creation of their faces and how their circuit works within their faces.
  • The students will be encouraged to go into detail explaining how their circuit works and the creativity behind their Play-Doh faces.
  • After partnering up, the class will reconvene and discuss whole group what was easy about using Squishy Circuits and what was difficult.
  • Students will display their Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh faces in the hallway outside of the classroom for other students in the school to see.

Connections to Learning Theories

When reflecting upon my lesson, I noticed connections between different elements of the lesson and several different learning theories.  However, the Constructivist and Experimental Learning theories stood out as having the most parallels.  The Constructivist learning theory states that “Learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge” (Bruner, 1966).  In my lesson, students are actively learning by applying their prior knowledge of Squishy Circuits to construct their Play-Doh faces.  Relying on structure from their teacher, students are not simply passive recipients of knowledge, but rather they are using their knowledge to construct something new.  The Experimental Learning theory, in essence, states that learning is achieved best through reflection on direct experience.  At the end of my lesson, students share their Squishy Circuit Play-Doh faces with a classmate and talk about the thought process and creativity behind their creations.  In addition, the class reconvenes to discuss what went well and what was difficult about using the Squishy Circuits, which forces them to reflect on their experience and gain valuable knowledge.  Overall, there are strong connections between components of my lesson and the Constructivist and Experimental Learning theories.

References

Constructivist Theory. (n.d.). Instructional Design. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/constructivist.html

Kearsley, G. (n.d.).  About the TIP Database. Instructional Design. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/about.html

Learning Theory – What are the established learning theories? . (n.d.). IHMC Public Cmaps (3). Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://cmapspublic3.ihmc.us/rid=1LGVGJY66-CCD5CZ-12G3/Learning%20Theory.cmap

Squishy Circuits — Sylvia’s Mini Maker Show – YouTube. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDZo51k2BWQ

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4 responses to “Maker Experiment #1

  1. Jacob, I really enjoyed the lesson you created for your 2nd graders! I love how you allowed them to first see a video introducing them to squishy circuits and then allowed them to have their own playtime. That 5 minute playtime is so valuable not only for them but for you. In that 5 minutes, they can get all of their excitement out and learn at the same time. Afterwards, they will be ready to focus on the objectives they read at the beginning of the lesson. I also found it interesting that you started the lesson by having the students read the objectives silently. This is the first year that I will be required to post my daily objectives. I most definitely think I will use this strategy in my classroom this year! Finally, I really enjoyed how you ended the lesson by having,”Students display their Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh faces in the hallway outside of the classroom for other students in the school to see.” This will promote discussion throughout the school and enhance student learning! I look forward to hearing about how your students react to this lesson!
    Heather

  2. Neat! Having 2nd graders work with Squishy Circuits! I think this a great lesson plan. Using youtube to build knowledge before students begin working is a great idea as it provides a visual for students. What a great hands on activity for students of this age. It also provides opportunities for students of all abilities to participate in the lesson. I really like how things are wrapped up with students coming together to talk about their creations and what they learned. Is this something you are going to implement in your classroom? Would be interesting to hear how it goes.

  3. Hi Jacob,

    I like your lesson plan format. Very clear and concise direction on what will be occurring in your classroom. I looked at constructivism in my own lesson. Though we had different sources we reached similar conclusions, which is always heartening even if expected. Well done.

    Best regards,

    Bill

  4. Pingback: Maker Experiment #3 | jewettja

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