STEM Day at the Frederick Fair
STEM Day at the Frederick Fair
October 31, 2023
The USAMRDC Educational Outreach team attended the STEM showcase at the Frederick Fair on 22 Sept. Kids of all ages were able to learn about different programs throughout Frederick County that are dedicated to sparking an interest in STEM with children as young as kindergarten.
The Educational Outreach team was able to teach students about electricity and circuits by creating Circuit Bugs. Follow the directions below to create your own Circuit Bug.
Over the course of three hours the team was able to interact with about 100 students and teach them about electricity while also talking to students about the programs we offer to continue their STEM education.
- Conductive or Copper Tape
- LED Lights
- CR 2032 Battery
- Electrical Tape
- Craft Supplies
Anything with power needs a circuit to work. A simple circuit needs three components: a power source (the battery in your Circuit Bug), wires (the copper/conductive tape in your circuit bug), and a load (the work that is being done or the LED in your Circuit Bug). All three of these components need a CLOSED circuit, meaning that everything is connected with no gaps, for the electricity to flow. People like engineers, need to think about circuits and how they work every day to do their jobs.
- Cut the copper/conductive tape to fit on the entire outside of the clothespin, plus a little extra
- Take the clothespin and find the mouth (this is where the clothespin connects)
- Take one piece of the copper/conductive tape and peel the backing off slightly
- Put the sticky side into the mouth so it is laying flat against the wood vertically across the dip on the inside, start to peel back the backing and stick the copper tape flat across the entire outside of the clothespin
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 to complete the opposite sides
- Take your LED light and separate the prongs to form a "V" shape
- Bend the very ends of the prongs to create a "U" shape
- Take the electrical tape and attach the two prongs onto the end of the clothespin. One prong should be on each side where you pinch the clothespin together. Make sure the prongs are touching the copper tape to complete the circuit (if you want to use two lights, make sure the short prongs are on the same side)
- Place battery into the mouth (if it doesn't work, try flipping the battery)
- Decorate your Circuit Bug
Critical Thinking Questions:
- What do you need in your everyday life that uses a circuit?
Lights, phones, microwaves, TVs, smart watches, computers, cars, etc.
- Why do you think we need electricity and circuits?
Many of the things we need to survive need electricity like heaters and AC units. But electricity has also made our lives easier such as light bulbs instead of candles and cell phones instead of writing letters.
- What other professions work with electricity and circuits?
An electrician, certain medical professions that work on the nervous system, a circuit designer, etc.
- What is another type of load that a circuit can have?
A voice amplifier, a fan, a motor, etc.