Thursday, February 23, 2017

Paper Circuits

zeros for a polynomials
Sunday, I gave a two hour workshop on using paper circuits in math at the local technology in education conference.

It was wonderful.  I had a room full of adults who were involved and having fun.  I assumed most people had never done paper circuits so I started at the basics.

First, I had them create a simple series circuit.  I gave them the supplies, a picture and let them do it, just the way I would in class.  I didn't even put the circuit drawing on the paper.  I made them do it themselves as part of the learning process.

The second step, was creating a parallel circuit with two rows of copper tape close to each other.  Participants had such a great time working to get the lights lit.  I showed a second way of creating a parallel circuit.  It was great watching them working together, speculating on why certain lights came on but then went out.  So much learning.

Over the next hour or hour and a half, I had them light two points on a line so they could eventually find the equation of the line.  They used parallel circuits and most everyone managed it.  I alternated working on projects with showing what could be done including creating your own switches.

Many of the elementary teacher in the group were weary at first but after I showed them a couple of things they could use with their students, they were much happier.  They were happy, they could use the lights to designate vertices, create pop-ups, and a few other activities.  I've never thought of using pop-ups in math but I can see ways they'd be good for elementary students.  

As time went on, a few began working on their own thing using techniques they'd learned.  One guy, successfully set up the circuits so when his boss proposed to his girlfriend, the ring would light up when the box was opened.

Another gentleman spent time working on a binary machine.  He has not finished it but promised to send me a short video when he got it up and running.  I inspired a few folks to just go off, play, and create.  Yeahhhhhhh.

Let me know if you've every used paper circuits in your class.  How did you use them.  Thanks ahead of time.