Instruction Guide: Circuits and Switches

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Note: This lesson in common to both the NXT and EV3 versions of STEM Robotics 101.

Review the Circuits and Switches Worksheet with students before watching the Intel Video: Circuits and Switches

Have student take notes during the video

If desired, use the Circuits and Switches Video Review PowerPoint presentation in conjunction with the video to pause for discussion questions and links to supplemental resources on Intel's companion web site. Note: the time under the title of each slide indicates when to pause the video.

The Four Parts of a Circuit

If possible, demo a simple circuit with a small lamp (see Extended Instructional Material) and recap video:

  • Power Source – battery in demo circuit
  • Conducting Path – wires in demo circuit
  • Switch – mechanical switch in demo circuit
  • Load – lamp in demo circuit

If a real-life demo is not possible, this virtual circuit from the Intel companion site for the video may be used.

Ask students for other examples of circuits in their lives

Give an example circuit and ask student to identify the four parts. For example:

  • Headlights in a car
  • Electric toothbrush
  • MP3 player (ipod)

Insulators, Conductors and Semiconductors

If possible, demo a simple circuit with small lamp and recap video:

  • Conductor – the wires
  •  Insulator – plastic coating on wires
  • Use this circuit to test different material to determine whether they are insulators or conductors (see Extended Instructional Material)

Swap lamp in demo circuit for LED

  • Show the LED only lights when connected one way to power source
  • LED is semiconductor – only conducts electricity under certain conditions

If a real-life demo is not possible, this virtual test circuit for solids and this one for liquids from the Intel companion site for the video may be used.