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Science fair season is upon us and I wanted to share a project that my son did a couple of years ago. It’s not something that I normally share considering the age range but I wanted to share the details because it really is such an awesome project and could be done as a class project for the younger grades.
My son did this project when he was in the fourth grade which was perfect since they had been learning about circuits in science class. He has always been obsessed with circuits since he was little. We got him his first snap circuits set when he was in kindergarten and finished the whole book in the first 2 days he had it.
We were inspired to do this project the summer before, we had visited Seattle over the summer and went to the science center while there. They had built a life-sized operation game and it was the coolest thing ever! We decided that he could recreate the same thing just on a smaller scale to take to school.
The teachers did not require a typical science fair background board but allowed the kids to create a google slide show and had them print it out to be displayed instead.
My son did place first in the science fair for his grade with this project. No promises, but the students and parents sure had a lot of fun seeing it at the science fair night. Here’s how to make one of your own Simple Circuit Science Project!
A medium-sized cardboard box
Wrapping paper or bulletin board paper to cover the box
Small 2oz plastic cups – we used 4
A roll of aluminum foil
A pair of tweezers
Small toys to try and fill out of the holes – we used Legos
Hot glue gun and sticks of glue
Print out a character you want to use. The size will depend on the size of the box you are using.
Print out a picture of a character you’d like to use. My son chose a Lego mini-figure which we printed on a couple of pieces of paper. He then cut them out and pieced them together overlapping them so they fit the box fully. Lay the character on the box and determine where you want the holes to be that you’ll be placing the little toys into. DO NOT glue the character down at this point.
Next, take a plastic cup and trace the bottom of the cup onto your character in spots where you want to add the holes for the toys too. My son chose to do 4 holes. After you trace the hole, a parent needs to help carefully cut out the holes of the cardboard box using a razor knife. You’ll also need to cut out the holes in your cut-out character.
After the holes are cut in the box, cover the entire box in tin foil. Where the holes are, carefully poke a hole and fold the foil inward to the inside of the box. If there are any spots where you can see the box still in the hole, you’ll want to add some additional foil. This will make sure there will be a connection
With the cups that you used to trace the holes with, on the inside of the box, you’ll need to hot glue the cups to the box. The cups are made of plastic so they are non-conductive only triggering the circuit if they touch the edge where the foil is.
Now you need to apply your siren to your simple circuit. Mount the siren on the inside side of the box using hot glue. Looking at the alarm, there are 2 wires that go into a connector at the end, cut the connector off, you do not need this. Cut it right at the end, leaving as much wire as possible. Now pull the 2 wires apart.
Next, poke a small hole for the wires to fit through the outside of the box. Now the black wire can be cut shorter and then strip an inch of the shielding off exposing the bare wire. Hot glue or tape it to the aluminum foil, making sure the wire is touching the foil.
Next, wrap the cardboard box with the paper that you have chosen over top of the foil so it looks nice and clean. Carefully recut the same holes that have the foil inside. Using a glue stick, glue the character down onto the box. Make sure to poke your long wire through the paper and bring it to the front as well.
The final step is to attach the tweezer to the white and black wire. Strip back an inch of shielding and wrap the wire around the back end of the tweezers. Then tightly wrap electrical tape around the wire on the tweezer to make sure it’s secure.
Now you’re ready to test your simple circuit. Touch the tweezer to the foil in any one of the holes completing a circuit from the black and white wire to the black wire causing the siren alarm to go off. This is grounding the circuit. Add in the toys and you’re ready to play!
Let us know if you recreate this Simple Circuit Science Project! We’d love to see pictures so please share with us on our Facebook page or tag us in your photo!
See you next time!
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