BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Briarcliff Middle School sixth-graders recently ended their science unit on electricity with the first Electricity Maker Faire, where they used electrical concepts to make their own circuits.
The weeklong event consisted of hands-on activities that allowed students to create items such as battery-powered robots and their own versions of the game Operation, bringing scientific concepts to life. “Kids really don’t have a lot of opportunities to do this kind of hands-on work,” said science teacher Julie Gallagher. “We wanted to give students the unique opportunity to play with materials they usually don’t get a chance to play with things, make mistakes and try again.”
“First, you connect the wires to the batteries and you use a tin circle and connect the wires to the light. This is a full circuit. It’s fun because you are working, but you also get to work on a game like Operation, which you can even play at home,” explained student Charlotte Baer at the Operation station. With an abundance of engineering jobs in the professional workplace, Gallagher said giving students the opportunity work with their hands in a science environment is important.
Other activities included a “tape-cricity” card that lights up using conductible tape, a steady-hands game and the popular “doodlebot” robot that uses battery power to move markers around a page. “The kids had so much fun,” said Gallagher. “Makers faires really can be about anything in any subject, so we hope to encourage other subject areas to take on things like this.” View a video of the Electricity Maker Faire on the district website, www.briarcliffschools.org .
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