We examined sound waves and an Electronic Circuits, by putting together a small keyboard.
The synthesizer is build around the NE555 timer chip and a resistor-ladder.
Below is a screenshot from »Engineer’s Mini-Notebook« by Forrest Mims from 1984. This version uses a lot of different capacitors which makes it more expensive. The previous DIY version shown above is very cheap compared to this one.
One of our children is very fond of learning and making electronics with her dad. She is a very quick learner, 11 years old now. A friend of ours gave her this job – describe and connect all the wires and I’ll pay you a wage.
It is reverse engineering of a printed circuit board. The pieces has been reused from old electronics he already had at home or from dumpster diving.
My husband had for a long time wanted to make the periodic table more easily understandable, and got the idea that by working with the most common everyday used metals, we could actually touch the atoms.
We have had a few different versions of the periodic table on our wall for many years, but got a new more clear version given, so we decided to take the old ones down and put that clearer and larger one up in our living room.
That started a collection of little metal fragments, that the kids put up on the table by the correct metal.
Then my husbands holiday came, and we had the time to do a metal project. He made a specification sheet that they should fill out for every metal we worked with.
Monday we talked about iron. A metal easy to recognize and plentiful in our surroundings. He had made a iron coil earlier around an iron pole, so we got the chance to also do the Ørsted experiment again.
Tuesday we talked about gold. He told the story about the King who wanted to make sure the crown he had ordered was completely made of gold, and how Archimedes helped him solve that problem. We also looked at the stock exchange quotes for metals in the newspaper (Børsen).
Wednesday we talked about copper. Copper is widely used for wires used for electronics, so we had the chance to measure electric circuits on our Oscilloscope and our newly made Joule Thieves. After the lesson at home, we went to The Technical Museum in Elsinore and saw the original Ørsted Compas from 1820 (see photo). We also saw an Exhibition dealing with our extreme use of mobile phones today, which also take great use of copper and a large number of other metals.
Thursday we talked about aluminium. Many of our pots and pans were made of aluminium. Aluminium is very thermally conductive, so good when cooking food, to get a high heat quickly and to get back to a low heat quickly too.
Friday we went on a field trip to the local Metal Scrap Yard. We had made an appointment earlier with an employee there, who were kind enough to show us around on a guided trip.
How do you introduce knowledge about electronics in the Home School? Well, try to find a project that the children would like to use it for. In our case, it turned out to be lighting our Barbie house and installing different types of gadgets. We got really far today, but have still got some way to go.
Testing that the lights work individually.
Preparing the wires.
Sorting out all the connections at the back, so that the front only shows the lighting and gadgets.
A very important part of learning, is to be exposed to different things. As a child, you do not know all the different possibilities there is in life. We try to expose our children to as many different areas of learning as possible. Then they will have a greater opportunity to choose for themselves what to engage in. To find out what interests them.
In the past few years there has come a lot of offers to children, regarding learning about electronics, which is more and more palatable. One of these offers is Maker Space Copenhagen. There the children can see a fusion of methods used in craftmanship fused with electronics.
On the picture above, the children could see a 3D printer and examples of what it could produce and how it worked.
On the picture is shown a selection of trash that the children could use to create new things with.
On the picture above, a dolls house was build out of cardboard and then some electronic gimmicks was applied to the house.
Often Maker Space also takes the environmentally outlook on how we consume. It is all about reusing.
At this Maker Space there also was a section on biological aspects of creating. You could for example make your own mushrooms growing kit and many other growth projects to learn about biology.
We placed a compas on a wooden board. Pulled a wire across it with a circuit breaker/push button, so we could turn on and off the power. We then pulled two more wires more than 120⁰ apart (evenly distributed), also with a circuit breaker/push button. We then pushed the buttons alternately, so that the magnetic field changed, and thereby made the compass needle turn around. This is electromagnetism, as Ørsted discovered in 1820. It is used in most electrical appliances we use every day.
We also were so lucky that my dad had a old electric motor model we could test with and examine a coil and a iron core.
We have used Arduino for many different electronic projects because it is quite easy for the children to work with the code and quickly see results. Below you can see a movie where we have made a moving picture with a 8×8 display.