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“Oh No” cookie jars, study helmets and more as grade 9’s get creative with electricity!

Each year, as a culminating project after learning all about the basics of electricity, I task the grade 9 class with creating an original product that uses or creates electricity.

At first, the students seem confused or overwhelmed and they think there is no way that they can come up with an idea and follow it through to a creation in the span of a few classes. They often struggle (and even grumble a little), but after some time to think about it and explore with the materials, their creativity takes over and the frustration turns into enthusiasm.

Within a short time, the class is buzzing with activity. Students are building circuits, exploring with various materials, and putting their understanding of the concepts combined with their creativity into making interesting creations. This year was no exception. By the presentation day, the students were proudly showcasing their products and explaining how they work and why they are relevant to the real world. Often they were products that you didn’t know you needed but you are pretty sure everyone will want in the future.

Here is a list of this year’s creations:

  • The burglar alarm: a door mat that, when stepped on, turns on a bright light and triggers a loud buzzing noise.
  • A Morse code machine: when you push a button on a box with the morse code signals, the electric circuit runs through an arduino which communicates with the computer to decode the signals into English on the screen.
  • The “oh no” cookie Jar. When you put your hand in the jar to get a cookie, it completes a circuit which causes a light to turn on revealing a message on the top of the jar to try to help you get over the bad habit of too many cookies!
  • The study helmet: complete with lights and buzzers that sound to wake you up if you fall asleep while studying by triggering a switch that completes the circuit to turn on the lights and buzzers.

Other amazing products that were created this year: a portable fan, a battery powered fan that pushes the car forward with wind power, a battery powered paper saw that cuts through paper, and a homopolar motor.

Pam Matthews

Science and Outdoor Expeditions Teacher