PARALLEL CIRCUITS

Lesson Time:
45 to 60 minutes

LESSON GOALS

 

In Phase 2, students play Piper's custom-created Raspberry Pi Edition of Minecraft. Students learn the basics of circuitry with hands-on circuit building using electrical components like breadboards, jumper wires, buttons, LEDs and more.

In each level of the game, students will follow an engaging storyline to solve electronics challenges that allow them to complete each level. In the process, they will learn about the concepts of electrical current, power, types of circuits and how components function in a circuit.

In this lesson, students will learn how to connect parallel circuits and the difference between series and parallel circuits. They will also learn how to draw circuit diagrams to represent circuits they have connected.

LESSON RESOURCES

 

CAREER CONNECTIONS

 

Electrician

Hardware Engineer

Aerospace Engineer

Environmental Engineer

ESTABLISHED GOALS

Having reviewed buttons and switches and learned about polarity, students will now look at parallel circuits with buttons and switches.

The stories are arranged as planets. The story for each planet will guide students through the fundamental concept of wiring a circuit and understanding how switches and buttons on the breadboard work. As learners complete one story, the next one unlocks.

This lesson goes through the stories: Breadboard Bluffs, Funky Fungi, and Return to Cheeseteroid.

 

 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

1.

Understand that parallel circuits, together with buttons and switches can be used to simplify the button setup. Many buttons can share a ground pin.

 

2.

Understand that by using switches in combo with buttons in parallel setups, effects can be stacked. Different memory states can be called or different functions can be activated

3.

Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.

4.

Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by electric currents.
 

5.

Describe how computing devices connect to other components to form a system.

 

6.

Generate and compare multiple solutions that use patterns to transfer information.

 

7.

Determine potential solutions to solve simple hardware and software problems using common troubleshooting strategies.

 

LESSON PREPARATIOn (10 Minutes)

 
  • Review background materials and hints on Minecraft in Minecraft Reference.
     
  • Go through the Breadboard Bluffs, Funky Fungi, and Return to Cheeseteroid stories yourself, follow the directions on the screen and build the circuits (don’t forget to turn on the speakers so you can hear the directions). Review the Piper Quick Guides for Breadboard Bluffs,  Funky Fungi and Cheeseteroid Return.  

  • If you don’t want all students to play the videos, there are links at the end of the quick reference and you can project them for the whole class to view.

  • Review your favorite teacher science materials for Electronics and Circuits background.

  • Students in the same teams as before, or make adjustments as necessary.

  • Make sure Piper kits are built, connected, functioning, and batteries are charged for the Raspberry Pi and the speaker.

  • Retrieve student team storage boxes with Piper build components.

  • Provide storage devices to teams to hold electronics - such as paper plate or paper cup or plastic box.

  • Materials needed for electronic builds: Breadboard Bluff: None. Funky Fungi: 2 Switches, 1 Push Button (Bag J), 5 wires (2 black, 3 blue), breadboard. Cheesteroid Return: 2 Push buttons, 1 Switch (Bag J), Black Button (Bag I), 6 wires (3 blue, 3 black), 1 Breadboard.

 
engage

Introduction (5 minutes):

 

  1. Activate prior knowledge. Ask students “What do we know already about electricity and how it flows through circuits?” Engage in discussion. “Why can’t we see the electricity flowing in our circuits?” (Because electrons, the charged particles whose movement through a substance creates electricity, are too small to be seen even with a microscope. When electrons flow through certain substances (like copper wire), they form an electrical current.) “What is a circuit? What circuits have we made for Piper?” Address misconceptions from previous lessons.

  2. Tell students they will be playing through 2 more levels of the game today, exploring the many ways to use buttons and switches in Piper, and learning about parallel circuits.

Main Activity (30-40 minutes):

  1. Encourage students to go through the Breadboard Bluffs, Funky Fungi, and Return to Cheeseteroid worlds.

  2. During this time, roam around the room, asking the essential questions* of this lesson:

    • In Breadboard Bluffs: Why is the current not flowing until all the repairs are made? Example Answer: circuits need to be complete. Current will not flow if there is a break in the wiring path of electricity How is this similar to the circuits you have built? Example Answer: In mars repairing the telescope and Piper Bot completing circuits.

    • In Funky Fungi: What is the benefit of the two buttons sharing a wire to one pin? Example Answer: it is faster to build with one less wire and the buttons are both sharing the same ground. How does adding the switch affect the buttons and behavior in the game? Example Answer: when the switch is to the right the game remembers which button was last pressed and you don’t have to keep pressing the button to pave paths or build bridges.

    • In Return to Cheesteroid: How does adding the switch affect the buttons and behaviour in the game? How is this setup different than in Funky Fungi? Example Answers: The switch allows the player to switch between on demand construction/destruction and constant construction/destruction.

*These checks for understanding help reinforce the learning of the science practices of planning and carrying out out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved. (NGSS 3–5-ETS1-3.) (P.E.3.4.7))

  1.  
explore

Main Activity (30-40 minutes +)

Encourage students to go through the Breadboard Bluffs, Funky Fungi, and Return to Cheeseteroid worlds.

Refer to the Piper Quick Guides: Breadboard Bluffs , Funky Fungi, Cheeseteroid Return

During this time, roam around the room, asking the essential questions* of this lesson:

  • In Breadboard Bluffs:
    • Why is the current not flowing until all the repairs are made? Example Answer: circuits need to be complete. Current will not flow if there is a break in the wiring path of electricity
    • How is this similar to the circuits you have built? Example Answer: In mars repairing the telescope and Piper Bot completing circuits.
  • In Funky Fungi:
    • What is the benefit of the two buttons sharing a wire to one pin? Example Answer: it is faster to build with one less wire and the buttons are both sharing the same ground.
    • How does adding the switch affect the buttons and behavior in the game? Example Answer: when the switch is to the right the game remembers which button was last pressed and you don’t have to keep pressing the button to pave paths or build bridges.
  • In Return to Cheesteroid:
    • How does adding the switch affect the buttons and behavior in the game? How is this setup different than in Funky Fungi? Example Answers: The switch allows the player to switch between on demand construction/destruction and constant construction/destruction

*These checks for understanding help reinforce the learning of the science practices of planning and carrying out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved. NGSS 3–5-ETS1-3. (P.E.3.4.7))

EXPLAIN

Review Vocabulary (5-10 minutes)

 

  1. Review vocabulary words and definitions that were encountered during the lesson.

  2. Make time for learners to ask questions and explain concepts.

ELABORATE

Exgending Understanding (10-15 minutes)

  • Students take a picture of their control panel and circuits. After completing the stories, students take apart any circuits on separate breadboards and return parts to their proper bag in the storage bin.
  • Students put kit away to avoid distractions during teacher led discussion. Remind students to use the proper shutdown sequence.

  • Teacher or peer led discussion: 2.4 SLIDES - Parallel buttons and switches 

    • Use these slides to unpack the concept of parallel circuits (or play this video for younger students).

  • Since Cheeseteroid is the longest (and most difficult) world, have the learners share or map where they got stuck and how they completed the level. Then tie these problem solving and persistence actions to a growth mindset or 21st Century skill they will need to be an engineer in real life.

  • Combine a few teams together in small groups of 4 to 6. Have individuals contribute questions/answers on the topic of Parallel and Series circuits, giving references to the Piper worlds they just finished that explored this new concept. Assign peer leaders to either document or summarize their group’s ideas. Provide prompts to help them get started:

    1. What do we know about it?

    2. How do we know that we know it? How did we demonstrate knowledge?

    3. What got in the way of learning it?What helped with learning it?

    4. How can this knowledge be applied to a real-world engineering problem?

EVALUATE

Closing Activity

 

  1. Have students complete Summative Assessment (or gamify) to evaluate learning objectives.

  2. Extension (could require another class period): Students use their pictures (or the one you provide) and sketch the circuits made for the Cheeseteroid Return and label all the parts. Then provide the circuit diagram symbols, rulers, and instructions on how to draw one and they draw circuit diagrams for each circuit, labeling all the parts.