Student notes were taken to remember what they learned about simple circuits and their paper circuit project.
Simple Circuits with Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, and Judy Walley, Teays Valley Chemistry Teacher. Full presentation link: go.osu.edu/simplecircuits
Why Understanding Simple Circuits is Important?
Basic circuit knowledge is important for many different disciplines, including engineering, physics, chemistry, and mathematics. It’s also useful knowledge around this time of year when you may need to repair a string of old holiday lights? Understanding and building simple circuits show us important concepts learned in school that can describe useful real-world systems, like devices we use every day, cell phones, light switches, Chromebooks, cars, etc.
The electric charge that flows through your house is called your electric circuit. This carries useful energy through your house that you can transform into other forms of energy to do various tasks. The US standard household circuit has an effective voltage that takes 120-volts. Volts represent the energy per unit charge. We discussed these basic building blocks of simple circuits in STEM Club this month. Our hands-on simple circuit design challenge uses 3-volt lithium batteries. Before jumping into our design challenges we’ll cover a few basic circuitry concepts and energy principles.
The principle of conservation of energy is an effective tool in solving problems and understanding how different forms of energy directly impact our lives. There are also benefits to this principle. These include recycling of materials, lower energy costs for consumers, less pollution due to a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, and less harm to animals and the environment. We watched a short video, from Two Minute Classroom, that explained the basic concepts of how energy transforms itself into other forms and never truly disappears or is destroyed.
Judy Walley led students through the basic concepts of atoms and electrons, because, without the flow of electrons, we have no electric circuit to work with.
Judy Walley explains the basic concepts of atoms and electrons as students formed a single circuit where electrons passed through them to power a sound buzzer.
Walley also explained the chemistry of a battery and how chemical reactions occur inside the battery that causes an imbalance or a build-up of electrons (-) on one side of the battery over the other, hence why one side or one terminal of the battery is negative (-) and the other positive (+). We also introduced the basic materials for our hands-on design challenges and explain how a battery works.
Screenshot from our virtual simple circuit presentation.
How a Battery Works
Batteries are important to everyday life. Batteries are essential to most electrical devices. They exist in our cars, cell phones, laptops, and other electronic appliances, and serve as critical backup sources of electricity in telecommunications, public transportation, and medical devices. A battery is essentially a container full of chemicals that produce electrons (-). Inside the battery itself, a chemical reaction produces the electrons.
The battery is a device that stores chemical energy and converts it to electrical energy. The chemical reactions in a battery involve the flow of electrons from one material (electrode) to another, through an external circuit. The flow of electrons provides an electric current that can be used to do work. In our case, students use copper tape to build a paper circuit to create light energy with an LED. Below depicts the inner wors of a battery.
Screenshot of how a battery works from our virtual simple circuit presentation.
The students learned that a battery has three main parts: an anode (-), cathode (+), and the electrolyte that separates the two terminal ends on the battery. We discussed the chemical reaction happening inside the battery that causes electrons (-) to build up on one side of the battery causing one end to be negatively charged (-) and the other end positively charged (+). This buildup causes an imbalance of electrons (-), that want to travel to the other side of the battery, but can’t move freely until a conductive circuit is completely looped for the electrons to travel through; in our case, the conduit is copper tape.
When a circuit is complete, or a loop created, the electrons will flow through the conductive paths racing to reach the other side of the battery terminal. When the electrons flow through the loop, the chemical energy inside the battery is transformed into electrical energy running through the circuit. When all electrons (-) make it to the other side, the battery stops working. All of the electric energy was transformed into other forms of energy.
Electrical energy allows us to do work by transforming energy into other forms. We use LEDs in our paper circuit design challenge because it’s a simple way to show how electric energy is transformed or converted into light energy. We could replace the LED with a simple motor and the motor would convert electrical energy into kinetic.
Screenshot of simple circuit components and electricity concepts from our virtual simple circuit presentation.
What’s a Diode?
Both LEDs and motors can easily be added to simple circuits. However, LEDs are somewhat more restrictive than motors, because LEDs are diodes. A diode only allows current to flow in one direction. From the cathode, (-) leg of the LED through the anode (+) leg. Note that the anode on a battery is negatively charged, but the anode on an LED is positively charged! The correct way to connect an LED legs to the battery terminals is positive to positive/anode to cathode and negative to negative/ cathode to anode. Study the image above if this is confusing. If the LED or battery is flipped in the wrong configuration then no current or electrons flow through the LED because the diode only allows for current to flow in one direction.
A motor does not have a diode, therefore current can flow in either direction, and depending on how the motor is connected to the battery will decide what direction the motor turns left/right, or moves forwards/backward.
As a virtual group, we challenged ourselves with a few NearPod activities to reinforce our electricity concepts before beginning our hands-on paper circuit challenges. A paper circuit is a functioning electronic circuit built on a paper surface instead of a printed circuit board (PCB). Projects can range from greeting cards to origami, to traditional art such as paintings or drawings. STEM totes went home with the students and included paper circuit design challenges and supplies.
Supply List (we purchased all our supplies through Amazon)
Conductive copper tape
Plain card stock, or templates printed on card stock
We covered a lot of material last month. We thought we’d take advantage of the spooky mystery themes of Halloween and challenge our students to become science detectives, experimenting with hands-on activities involving chromatography, perception of vision, and phosphorescent slime chemistry. We also learned about atoms, electrons, batteries, LEDs, and simple circuits.
Two Minute Video Highlight of Program
The students became CSI lab technicians, tasked with solving a who-done-it pumpkin theft. All that was left at the scene of the crime was a letter demanding cookies! No fingerprints were found, but six suspects were brought in for questioning and all six had different black markers on their person. The marker evidence was tagged and brought to the CSI lab along with the random letter for further analysis. Marker samples were taken and a chromatography test was performed by our young lab technicians.
Chromatography is a laboratory technique for the separation of a mixture (more specifically separation of molecules) and in our case black marker ink molecules. The ink was dissolved in a water solution process of mobile to stationary phase, revealing distinct ink-finger prints for comparative analysis against an ink sample taken from the random note. The students discovered different ink molecules travel at different speeds, causing them to separate and reveal distinct color patterns that could help identify the pumpkin thief from the six suspects.
People don’t often pick up a marker or pen and think of molecules, but ink and paints are made up of atoms and the molecules, like everything, follow rules. Ink and paints follow the standard CPK rule, which is a popular color convention for distinguishing atoms of different chemical elements in molecular modeling (named after the chemists Robert Corey, Linus Pauling, and Walter Koltun). Basically, certain elements are associated with different colors. For example,
Hydrogen = White
Oxygen = Red
Chlorine = Green
Nitrogen = Blue
Carbon = Grey
Sulphur = Yellow
Phosphorus = Orange
Other = Varies – mostly Dark Red/Pink/Maroon
Teays Valley High school mentor, Drew Dean, assists elementary students with our paper circuits program.
PERSISTENCE OF VISION
Persistence of vision refers to the optical illusion that occurs when visual perception of an object does not cease for some time after the rays of light proceeding from it have ceased to enter the eye. The discovery was first discussed in 1824 when an English-Swiss physicist named Peter Mark Roget presented a paper, “Explanation of an Optical Deception in the Appearance of the Spokes of a Wheel when seen through Vertical Apertures” to the Royal Society in London. Shortly after, in 1832, a Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau built a toy that took advantage of the optical illusion trick. (Photo below source: http://streamline.filmstruck.com/2012/01/07/the-persistence-of-persistence-of-vision/)
The toy made images move independently but overlapped them or when placed in a series made them look as if they were walking, running, juggling, dancing. This concept soon laid the foundation for early filmmaking. (Photo below source be: http://1125996089.rsc.cdn77.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/persistence-of-vision-transit.jpg)
The students learned how our eyes report basic imaginary back to the brain, or rather how our eyes perceive shapes, their motion, and their relative position from other objects. The students discovered that eyes are not simple windows to the world. Eyes do not see what is, but instead, see approximations.
The students learned how different objects glow in the dark. First, students learned that heat is a good emitter of light, such as a fire or an old-fashioned light bulb, but heat isn’t always required to make something appear to glow. For example, bedroom glow-in-the-dark stickers, glow sticks, or fireflies do not require heat. The stickers and even certain types of rocks, like the Bologna Stone, require several hours of light to charge them in order to later glow. But glow sticks and fireflies, do not require heat or light, but instead, deal with chemistry where two different elements are mixed together to make a ‘luminescent’ compound.
We talked about phosphorescence and the process in which energy absorbed by a substance is released slowly in the form of light. Unlike the relatively swift reactions in fluorescence, such as those seen in a common fluorescent tube, phosphorescent materials “store” absorbed energy for a longer time, as the processes required to re-emit energy occur less often.
Finally, we let the students become chemists and make their own phosphorescent slime for later glow in the dark fun after the compound was charged by light. The young chemists used measuring devices to concoct their spooky slime recipe.
Make another batch at home with your young chemist:
Add 20.0 mL of glue to cup
Add 15.0 mL of water to cup
Drop of preferred food coloring
Add a drop of glow in the dark phosphorescence paint
Add 12.0 mL of BORAX solution
STIR! It will be runny until you take it out of the cup and start to play with it.
We are working to accommodate a guest lecturer, Clayton Greenbaum, next month from The Ohio State University. His teaching schedule conflicted with our original club dates. He will be teaching the students about the science of Sound Waves, Electricity, and will lead them through a Paper Speaker Build Challenge along with our high school STEM mentors. This is a really great program and worth adjusting the schedule for. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. Below is a short summary of date changes and what students can expect for their November club meeting.
Nov 11: Walnut (no change)
Nov 12: Ashville (date changed)
Nov 18: Scioto (no change)
Nov 19: South Bloomfield(date changed)
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering runs a popular outreach program to help K-12 students and their teachers explore engineering. Led by Professor Betty Lise Anderson, the program is specifically designed to encourage students toward STEM fields and to specifically increase the number of women and minorities in engineering. In 2015, the program won Ohio State’s top university-wide Outreach Award.
Watch a video of Anderson and Greenbaum in action at the Marysville, Ohio Early College High School:
Along with assistant Clayton Greenbaum and numerous Ohio State student volunteers, Prof. Anderson visits schools, camps, and after-school organizations to engage young students by teaching them how to build real engineering projects, such as working speakers for smartphones or even wireless LED lights that students can take home. Since 2008, the program has brought hands-on engineering projects to more than 11,000 students, many of whom may never have thought they could be an engineer, or even had any idea what an engineer does. With special attention to high-need schools and districts, kids from diverse backgrounds are being shown the possibilities of careers in STEM fields. Watch a short video here that shows a great example of that special moment when a student “gets it” and becomes inspired by engineering.
This program has instituted a club masking requirement, which applies to all elementary students, high school mentors, and instructors participating in this program. If this is an issue please let us know as soon as possible as we will only be permitting students that follow the masking requirement.
As a result of the COVID-19 update and the fact that The OSU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering postponed this visit until November, we have decided to postpone starting our club meetings until the end of September, please note the adjusted schedule below and/or visit our club calendar online.
We appreciate your understanding and support during this unprecedented time. Please know that we are very dedicated to this program and want to engage your child in hands-on STEM learning in a safe and engaging environment as soon as possible.
THANK YOU, DuPont! for your continued support, involvement, and financial donations to OSU Extension and Teays Valley’s Elementary STEM Club Program!
DuPont values business, community, and educational partnerships to improve our youth’s exposure to STEM education and career exploration! Serena Blount from DuPont, thanks for visiting us at our Teays Valley East Middle School’s Environmental Summer Camp, you’re amazing and a true advocate for Pickaway County youth!
We are going to have a little chemistry fun this Saturday, May 8th @ 10:00 a.m. with experiments focused on chemical reactions! We’ll be sending home STEM tots to create some goofy glow gels, fizz wizards, and experiment with jamming jelly reactions!
IMPORTANT: Join this virtual meeting from your kitchen if possible and try to have your parents near by for this program, because we are going to be mixing materials that could get a little messy. We are sending home chemicals, powders, and dyes to mix for our experiments. Also, make sure you have some play cloths and not your favorite top in case anything stains. We’ll provide a smock in your STEM tote, but better safe than sorry.
Join Pickaway County Library’s Youth Services and OSU Extension as we create a Rube Goldberg’s Simple Machine together in our all ages virtual hands-on science program, Thursday, May 6, 2021, @ 6:00 p.m.Registration is required for this free educational virtual one-hour event, click here to register.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing personalized meeting details and a passcode to joining Zoom. We’ll also send a reminder email prior to the event. Participants will need a smartphone or laptop.
We will be making our machines out of simple household items and toys. Get creative and take a look around your house and see what supplies you can find to build your machine with us. Here the supplies list we’ll be using:
We very much hope you can join in. This learning event is great for young learners or the entire family to participate in!