Learning About Breadboards

Today we learned about how to use breadboards. Are first task was to light up one LED light without using the power rails. The LED lights had two legs, one shorter and one longer. The longer side was called the cathode (positive) side and the shorter side was called the anode (negative) side. The cathode side goes on the same side as the negative (black) battery wire of the breadboard. The anode side goes on the same side as the positive (red) battery wire, in the same row. The battery pack wires go in the same row as the LED light.

The second thing we did was light up an LED light using the power rails. The LED light goes in the same way as before. The next step is putting the battery pack wires in the power rails this time. The positive side goes in the positive side of the rail and the negative side goes in the negative side of the rail. The last step is putting jumper cables in to connect the power rails to the rest of the breadboard. One side of the jumper cable goes in the same row as the LED light and the other goes anywhere in the power rail, depending on where the negative or positive wires are. The other jumper cable goes on the other side of the breadboard.

The last thing we did was put three LED lights in the  breadboard and test all three switches. In order to do that, three extra jumper cables would be added and six alligator clips. On any side, the three (of six in total) jumper cables are taken out on the side that is in the power rail. The three extra jumper cables are inserted in the same place the the jumper cable was just taken out of. Each alligator clip is attached to one of the jumper cables sticking up. The other sides of those alligator clips are attached to the tin foil parts on the switches. When the switch is turned on, the lights light up, depending on which one was switched on.

Building Switches

Our next unit is building switches (and Solder People). We will be using cardboard, tin foil, straws, hot glue, popsicle sticks, etc. The tin foil is the conductive material that will be used for turning a light bulb on.
What you’re supposed to do is build a switch out of available materials that will make the light flash. In order to do that, you will have to attach the tin foil to the switch so that when you flip it on, the tin foil touches another side of tin foil. One alligator clip will be clipped on each side to make the light flash. You will have to build three switches which will be used in a game at the end, so you want them to be fast and efficient.
I will make a lever, a button, and a sliding switch. For my lever, I will make a straw lever with a popsicle stick and a rubber band attached. The popsicle stick will have tinfoil taped to it so it will be conductive. In front of the lever, there will be another piece of tinfoil taped to be conductive. Behind the lever, there will be another popsicle stick where the other side of the rubber band will be. This will allow the lever to turn off as soon as I turn it on for speed.

For my button, I will make a straw button that will go up and down- like a button. I will make a little box with two sides missing. On the bottom inside of the box, I will attach tin foil to make it conductive. On a little straw, I will attach tin foil to the bottom to be conductive. To make it turn off right after I turn it on, I will attach a rubber band to the straw. The other side will be attached to a hook made of a popsicle. In the box, I will make a hole in the middle to insert the straw button.

For my sliding switch, I will take two little pieces of cardboard and slide them to turn it on and off. On the edges of both pieces, I will tape on tin foil to make it conductive. On the side of each of them, I will make a hole. In the hole, I will insert a straw to allow the boards to connect and slide. Next to the switch, I will have a popsicle stick so that each time I slide the switch on, it will turn back off.

Solder People

While we are making our switches, we are also creating Solder People. We will be using brass wire and solder. My solder person will be waving its hand. In order to take the materials and create a solder person, I will have to use pliers to bend the wire. There will be two wires. One is five inches long and one is three inches long. The five inch wire will be the legs and head and the three inch wire will be the arms. In order to connect these pieces, I will have to melt solder with a soldering iron on to my solder person. Then it will be finished.
Soldering irons are very dangerous because it gets as hot as 842º. You have to cool it down and clean the tip on a wet sponge and brass wire sponge. To use the soldering  iron, you have t0 attach the parts you are soldering to alligator clips. If you hold the brass while you are soldering, your hand will burn to a crisp.


Learning About Voltage and Circuits

Today, we learned about how to check the voltage of a battery, what is affected by the voltage, and how circuits work.
We learned how to use a digital multimeter to check the voltage. You put the red (positive) side on the positive side of the battery, and you put the black (negative) side on the negative side of the battery. We learned how you use a different setting depending on the voltage.
After we learned about voltage, we started talking about circuits and how to build one. I already knew a little about circuits because my elementary school had a maker space where they explained circuits. Also, my brother used to have this really fun toy where you had a bunch of pieces, and you connected them to a board in order to get it to do what you wanted it to do. You could make a fan, light, etc.
First, we played a game where you would have to make a circuit out of wires, a light bulb, a battery, and a switch. It was pretty easy. Then we turned up the voltage on the battery and it went on fire. We learned to use a resistor to prevent that and you could make it more ohms to resist more. The harder part was making two separate paths for two separate light bulbs, so if you turned off the switch, only one would go out. Just like how you would want to buy the Christmas lights that didn’t all go out if only one was broken.
The circuits we made were different and cool. We took wires that were open at the edges so you could use the conductive metal, a battery pack, a switch, and a lightbulb. Then we put it all together. There were three screws on the switch. You had to unscrew two of them a little bit. Then you put the metal part of the wire under the screws and tightened them. Then you did the same thing for attaching the other side of the wire to the light bulb. To make the circuit work, you turn on the battery and flip the switch. Then the light bulb lights up.

Building Mothers Day Present

I always like to make something really special for my mom. I almost always create something. This year for Mother’s Day, I’m going to make her a bracelet and ring. When it was her birthday this year, I tried to make a ring but it ended up breaking. I learned from my mistakes and now I know I will create a great present.
Last time, the glue I used was really bad so it didn’t stick. Also, it was too flimsy and the wrong size. Now I have really strong glue and I know the correct size.
The first thing I did was gather my materials. On my watch, the metal band was doing very well, so I gathered lots of those pieces. While I was trying to find all of the metal, I realized that one of th pieces was hooked to a keychain and locked in some weird way. It took me a long time to get it off, figure out how to open and close it, and figure out how to use it in my creation. The next thing I got was the same soft and stretchy material I used the first time for my watch band. Finally, I got my glue and red Sharpie. The red Sharpie was for drawing hearts on the soft material. I wanted it to be special.
After I drew the hearts, glued it all together, and let it dry, I was finished.
I can’t wait to see the look on my mom’s face on Mother’s Day.