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Taking apart old machines provides lesson in electricity

Published on Monday, March 8, 2021

group of students and teacher taking apart an old printer

BCSD provided photos

This lesson on electricity involved students having fun taking part old electronics from home.

Students worked on old printers, video game consoles, radios and tablets to discover circuits, conductors, insulators and gears a part of a "Breaker EDU" challenge.

Katherine Aarons’s third-grade class at Bowen's Corner Elementary has been working on their electricity unit in class, building circuits and testing materials to determine if they are insulators or conductors.

The goal of this particular lesson was to figure out why people used insulators and conductors of electricity for each part when designing and creating different electronics.

Aarons said her students loved using the tools to take a part the old electronics and figure out how they were wired and designed to function for a specific purpose.

“I saw a level of problem-solving and leadership within each group of students that I have not seen before as they worked on the ‘puzzle’ of taking them apart,” she said.

For this assignment, Aarons asked students and families to send in old electronics they were not longer using (and would never use again).

Bowen’s Corner Elementary has many student toolkits, with screw drivers students used to dissect the old electronics.

Steps to complete the lesson:

Aarons only had nine students doing Breaker Edu at a time (so three groups) and she rotated them through so that everyone got time to work on taking them apart.

When students were not doing Breaker Edu, they were creating diagrams of various circuits and coding them so that Ozobots could travel through their circuit mimicking the flow of electrical current. This kept others engaged so that Aarons could properly supervise the students using tools.

three students taking apart a printer