On Wednesday 3rd October 2018 a group of Year 9 students had an electrifying experience.
Dr. Maria Pavlidou and Mr Ian Kemp from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham came in to introduce the group to the wonderful world of electronics, and the concepts behind what goes on inside their favourite electronic devices.
The class of 13 and 14 year-olds were taught how to make “squeekie” circuits, in a complete ‘hands-on’ electronics workshop, designed by Ian Kemp, who is a former teacher, current STEM ambassador and member of the Institute of Physics. Its aim is to teach students technical competency and fault-finding skills, in a fun and safe way.
Introducing them to electronic components such as capacitors, diodes and transistors, Dr Pavildou said that these are items the students may not have encountered previously. They were then taught how to build a complete electronic circuit. This circuit allows students to link the magnitude of the current passing through a test circuit to the pitch of the sound produced by the squeekie, thus providing them with a working continuity and insulation tester (a very basic sort of multimeter).
Once completed, the students used their squeekie to do three physics investigations; allowing them to further extend their knowledge of physics concepts and basic electronics principals, through practical and fun experimentation and discovery. (It was also really, really noisy!!)