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Wire Maze

Grade Level: 7 (6-8)

Summary: Students will build a wire circuit and pass a paperclip through the maze, trying not to touch the wire. Touching the wire with the paperclip will cause the circuit to close, which will activate the indicator.

?Engineering Connection: We use circuits every day in household appliances from computers and radios to ovens and refrigerators. One of the most important circuits we use each day is that of a light bulb. In this activity, students will gain a basic understanding of an electrical circuit – the basis of electrical engineering.

Learning Objectives

To understand what causes electrical circuits to work

Materials List

  • 5 meters of stripped wire
  • 1 pair of wire cutters
  • 1 battery
  • 1 noise maker/light
  • 1 metal paper clip

Introduction/Motivation

Electrical engineers work with anything that carries electricity. Computers are primarily designed by electrical engineers. In this workshop we will explore the concept of closed circuits. We will use the materials given to design a maze. The object is to not touch the wire with the paper clip as you pass it over the maze. When you touch the maze with the paperclip a noise or light will signal that the circuit has been closed.

Procedure

1. Assemble the wire in the desired shape leaving a strand of wire on each end of the maze.
2. Take one end of the wire from the maze and connect it to the battery.
3. Take the other end and thread the paperclip onto the wire and then connect with wire to the noise maker/light.
4. Connect the battery to the noise maker/light.
5. Move the paper clip around the wire, trying not to touch the wire.

Investigating Questions

1. Could you set this up differently and still have it work?
2. Could you do this with wire that was covered?

Assessment

Use investigating questions as an assessment tool by asking students to write up possible options/solutions as homework.

Owner: K-12 Outreach Office, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Copyright: � 2005 by Worcester Polytechnic Institute
including copyrighted works of other educational institutions; all rights reserved.

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