Engineering Outreach @Berkeley

Squishy Circuits

Once electricity gets from a wall socket to your computer, what happens to it? How do engineers use electricity to make tools ranging from microwaves to microprocessors possible? Can Play-Doh be used in engineering just as well as it can be used in arts and crafts? In this module, students perform hands-on experiments to learn about electric circuits by building them  —  with Play-Doh! After an introductory presentation providing intuitive analogies to think about how electrons flow in a material, students work through self-guided activities to test these concepts firsthand. In these activities, students can compare series and parallel resistance, see how resistivity varies with a material's length and width, and even build an adjustable light switch.

Materials

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Photos courtesy of SEM Link