Island 4 Circuit Maze

Circuitry

Students will explore circuits as they work to solve challenges to complete the circuit.

Circuit Maze


 

The Challenge:

To build circuits that light up colored beacons. Students will choose challenge cards that tell them which colored beacons to light and which pieces (game tokens) to use.

All Circuits Work In The Same Way

All circuits work in the same basic way. Electricity flows from a power source (like a battery) along a path (a wire or another conductive material) to a load (an electrical device like a light) and then back in a loop.

All circuits have these three parts: 

  1. Power source

  2. Load (resistor)

  3. Wiring path

A load is also called a resistor because it creates resistance between the two ends of the power supply. The resistor needs electricity to work, and as it does, it reduces the current flow. In this example, the resistor is a light. As the bulb uses some of the electricity to light up, it reduces the current.

A path does not have to be made of wires. It just needs to be made of a conductive material so there is a path between the power source and the resistor. Circuit Maze uses metal strips. Magnets are also conductive. Can you think of other conductive materials?

Closed Circuits:

In order for electrical current to flow, the circuit must be closed. A closed circuit is a closed path (or loop) where electrical current can flow. If there is a break anywhere in the path, the electricity cannot flow, and it is called an open circuit.

An electrical path can accidentally be broken, or you can use a switch to control the flow of electricity. When a switch is "on," it connects the two sides of the path, closing it and letting the current flow through. When it is "off," it "breaks" the connection; the path is open and current cannot flow through. This is why an on-off switch is sometimes called a circuit breaker. 

To light the beacons in Circuit Maze, you must create a closed circuit. The blue game tokens are the power supply. They connect to the other game tokens, which have conductive metal strips. The metal strips allow electricity to flow through the colored beacons, lighting them up. 

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