Fun activities for teaching basics of electronics

Thread Starter

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
Looking for some "fun" and interactive things to do while teaching a class in the basics of electronics.
I want just some fun visual things I can show.. This is for the assembly staff at my work so nothing fancy just the absolute basics of electronics.. I really don't want to go past just a battery/lightbulb/switch level.. But want something "fun" thats still kindergarten level stuff..

We use nothing more than resistors/leds and relays and maybe a few capacitors/transistors in our products but thats the extent of the components we use.

Like touching steel wool to a battery type stuff..
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,399
The visual aids should support the concepts you are teaching, to literally help the student picture the concept. Helps the memory.

One common misconception about electricity is that "voltage" is some sort of of measure of power. Reinforcing the notion that a circuit must be COMPLETE, and that current must flow, would be a useful point to emphasize with a demo. Blow something up with low voltage and high current (maybe a rocket igniter?, or an old flash bulb?), and contrast it by letting something at high voltage, little or no current, remain unscathed.

I think most people can grasp what a capacitor is, since it resembles a battery. Resistors, LEDs and even relays are pretty easy to make sense of. But good luck explaining transistors. Some visual demonstration would be great, maybe a pneumatic valve? (small air flow controls a large valve)
 

alfacliff

Joined Dec 13, 2013
2,458
when you get to radio, a transistor radio will pickup the buzzing from a small buzzer connected to a battery. make sure it is the coil and pointgs type buzzer. a short piece of wire connected to the buzzer will let you pick it up around a room.
 

Thread Starter

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
The visual aids should support the concepts you are teaching, to literally help the student picture the concept. Helps the memory.

One common misconception about electricity is that "voltage" is some sort of of measure of power. Reinforcing the notion that a circuit must be COMPLETE, and that current must flow, would be a useful point to emphasize with a demo. Blow something up with low voltage and high current (maybe a rocket igniter?, or an old flash bulb?), and contrast it by letting something at high voltage, little or no current, remain unscathed.

I think most people can grasp what a capacitor is, since it resembles a battery. Resistors, LEDs and even relays are pretty easy to make sense of. But good luck explaining transistors. Some visual demonstration would be great, maybe a pneumatic valve? (small air flow controls a large valve)
Thats exactly why I wanted these visuals.. We aren't trying to make EE's.. Just have them understand why they are doing what they are doing at the test stand..
I can talk them to death (or to sleep) but its the simple fun stuff that will help them learn and remember it..

We just reinforced the rule again that all jewelry must be removed at the test stands and they didn't understand why.. So one of my experiments will be to show a circuit being completed with my wedding ring.. (or similar)..

My boss and I already decided that using a LARGE capacitor bank to explode a watermelon was a bit too much for this class.. Cool but a bit of an overkill :)

They have already learned sort of about the voltage/power you are speaking of.. We do hipot testing and they are initially scared to death of it seeing the 1100V on the testers analog meter and will stay 10 feet away at first.. Thats when I give them a bit of a talk about the "current that kills..not voltage" basic explanation.. Then of course (because I'm a bit crazy but it works) I've actually tripped it on myself before just to show I'm still alive after..

I like the pneumatic valve deal.. We have plenty of them around.. Great way to show a transistor..

Thanks so far.. please keep them coming if you have any.. :)
 

alfacliff

Joined Dec 13, 2013
2,458
how about winding some wire on a nail and show them how an electromagnet works?
wind a little wire around a compas and show how the magnetic field moves it around?
 

Thread Starter

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
Anyone got a good experiment to show the importance of not missing a solder connection or not tightening a bolted connection in an electrical circuit..
Something with arcing
 

KL7AJ

Joined Nov 4, 2008
2,225
Looking for some "fun" and interactive things to do while teaching a class in the basics of electronics.
I want just some fun visual things I can show.. This is for the assembly staff at my work so nothing fancy just the absolute basics of electronics.. I really don't want to go past just a battery/lightbulb/switch level.. But want something "fun" thats still kindergarten level stuff..

We use nothing more than resistors/leds and relays and maybe a few capacitors/transistors in our products but thats the extent of the components we use.

Like touching steel wool to a battery type stuff..
I like using plumbing to demonstrate Ohm's Law (and even Kirchhoff's current law). Demonstrate how the flow through a fatter pipe is greater for the same amount of pressure. Clear neoprene hose with colored water makes it less boring. :)
 
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