Students will build LEGO houses that are lit by LED bulbs to certain design constraints.
- Introduce students to LEGO building under design constraints
- Familiarize students with the process of planning and implementing a circuit
- LEGO Bricks
- LED Bulbs
- Wires (or playdough)
- House bases (for the design constraint)
- Alligator clips
Preparation and Set Up:
- Give each group a base, bricks, an LED bulb, and wire (or playdough)
- Explain design constraints
Basic electricity information, LEGO familiarity
Explain design constraints
Students should begin by constructing a LEGO House to whatever design constraints the instructors decide upon. Our class had size and height constraints (had to fit on the small base, had to be big enough for a LEGO man to live in) but they could be any sort of design constraint, service learning-related or otherwise. During the building process the students should be considering how they want to wire the house so that an LED bulb can light the inside of the house from a battery on the outside of the house.
Once the house has been constructed, have the students plan out the circuit that they want to use to light the house. We had the students use just one LED bulb so the circuits were very basic.
Students should wire the house so that the LED bulb lights the inside of the house from a battery on the outside. We used playdough instead of wires to create the circuit to build off of the squishy circuits activity, so they had a lot of flexibility on implementing the actual circuit.
Students should assemble their houses in one big “town” and present their houses to the rest of the class. Students should be able to explain their circuit to the class, as well.
- Make the house more realistic (make the light connect to the ceiling or look like a lamp)
- Give more specific design constraints
- Use more than one bulb per house – would create better diversity of solutions
- Have groups of students create ‘neighborhoods’ so that they have to combine their circuits to connect to one communal energy source