Snap Circuits


Name of Activity Snap Circuits Intro
Author STOMP
Keywords electrical engineering, circuits
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5, 6
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Activity involves building series and parallel circuits with LED’s, resistors, and switches
Lesson Objectives: To introduce students to the Snap Circuit Kits
Materials Needed: Snap Circuit Kits
Preparation and Set Up: Make copies of worksheets

arrange students in pairs

Distribute Kits and

Necessary Background Parallel







Procedure 1. Discuss and introduce the vocabulary 2. have the students design any circuit they want (multiple LED’s in series/parallel) on a worksheet, 3. have them predict what will happen 4. build and write observations

Detective- Electrical Engineering


Name of Activity Detective Electrical Engineering
Author Hannah Garfield & Kirsten Jorgensen
Keywords detective, electrical, circuits, mystery, squishy circuits, short circuit, light bulb, museum
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4, 5
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description 1st lesson in “Detective Engineer/Intro to Engineering Unit”

In this lesson the students will learn the basic concepts of circuits and what electrical engineers design.

Lesson Objectives: - understanding basic circuit
- understanding short circuit
- idea of what electrical engineers design
Materials Needed: - white board/black board and markers/chalk
- play dough (1 tub per group)
- 9 volt batteries (1 per group)
- LED lights that work with squishy circuits (1 per group, but probably bring more)
Procedure Detective story: There was a break-in at the Museum of Science. Something valuable stolen or whatever you want to say (more details about break-in so it sounds believable). You (students) have been hired as the detective engineer on the case. You need to solve the crime using your engineering skills. Upon arriving at the crime scene you cannot see anything since the bomb/explosion/etc. disrupted the museum’s lighting system and all of the lights are off. Ask students what type of engineer they need to be to solve this step of the crime. (Eventually they get to electrical.) Discussion with students about what electrical engineers design. Introduce the basic idea of a circuit – idea that electrons are flowing through circuit to make light illuminate, for example. Break students into groups of 2 and distribute squishy circuit materials. Allow students some time to play on their own with trying to get the light to light up. After 5- 10 min or so, bring class back together and discuss what’s working and what isn’t. Draw a battery, clearly indicating + and – ends, and a light bulb, also with clear + and – ends, on the board. Ask for volunteers to complete the circuit and ask them/the class why they connected wires to what and where, etc. Someone will most likely draw a short circuit and if not draw one yourself. Ask students if this circuit would light up the bulb and why or why not. Students can also come up and in a different color illustrate where they think they electrons are going if that helps them understand/get their point across. Allow students to return to their groups and try to make the light bulb light up again. With about 10-15 min left of class, bring students back together. Have a complex-ish circuit (made of only batteries, wires, and light bulbs) drawn on the board. Intentionally draw some short circuits, some wires that don’t connect to anything, etc. Tell students that this is the museum’s lighting circuit system and ask them to tell you what’s wrong with it and why. Students solve the broken circuit and the lights go on in the museum! End of class.
Extensions: If students get the bulb to light up early, give them additional light bulbs to try to make those light up as well and/or design a switch (and have them figure out what that is).
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Detective Engineer: Intro to Different Types of Engineering

Introduction to Magnetism





Name of Activity Introduction to Magnetism
Author STOMP
Keywords magnetism, electricity, circuits
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will be introduced to the concept of magnetism through a combination of discussion, video, and a short activity.
Lesson Objectives: -Introduce students to the concept of magnetism.
-Ensure students understand how electricity and magnetism are linked.
-Discuss the difference between naturally magnetic materials and electromagnets. Which is more useful to us and why? (Answer: electromagnets are used more often than natural magnets because they are able to be turned on and off.)
-A demonstration can be done using magnets and compasses, to be found in the CEEO. Students can see how the magnetic field of the magnet will influence the compass, which relies on the magnetic field of the Earth to show direction.
Materials Needed: -Compasses
Preparation and Set Up: -Collect enough materials such that students can test their compasses and magnets in pairs.
Necessary Background Students should be given an introduction on magnetism, what it is, how we use it, how it is related to electricity, etc. We found that Bill Nye has a couple of excellent videos on Youtube explaining magnetism and electromagnetism.
  1. Provide students with background.
  2. Use BIll Nye or other videos to aid in the lesson portion of this activity (optional).
  3. Allow students to test out the compasses and magnets.
  4. Have students feel the magnets attract and repel when certain poles are facing eachother.
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Electricity & Magnetism






Name of Activity Electromagnets
Author STOMP
Keywords electricity, magnetism, electromagnets, circuits, magnet
Subject Non-LEGO
Grade Level 4
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will be asked to create their own electromagnet, illustrating to them the relationship between electricity and magnetism.
Lesson Objectives: Allow students to use their prior knowledge of electricity and magnetism to create an electromagnet.
Materials Needed: -Nails with iron core, preferably. (Note: Stainless steel nails will probably not work!)
-D or 9V batteries
-Electrical tape
-Small paper clips (for testing magnetism)
Preparation and Set Up: -Collect materials
-Cut and strip several feet of electrical wire (~4-5 feet per group)
Necessary Background Students should now have a good understanding of both electricity and magnetism. They should have had an introduction explaining how the two concepts are related.
  1. Arrange students into pairs or small groups. If materials are not an issue, pairs would probably be best.
  2. Provide each pair with one D or 9V battery, one strand of wire, one or more nails, and a bit of electrical tape.
  3. Allow students to try to create the electromagnet on their own, although it will be necessary to explain to them why wrapping the wire around the nail will create a magnetic field.
  4. Students will probably struggle, but most of the times the problem is just that they need to wrap more wire around the nail to create a stronger magnetic field.
Online Reference(s)
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable) Electricity & Magnetism

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