Electricity Made Simple
SpringBrook Elementary
Kent, Washington
January 18, 2000

For more information,
Please contact: 
Denise Wilson 
Assistant Professor 
M222 EE/CSE Bldg. 
Box 352500 
University of Washington 
Seattle, WA 98195 

At the University of Washington
Department of Electrical Engineering

Elementary Science for Elementary Students (ES Squared) is a community outreach program to K-6 grade levels in Washington State. The purpose of our program is to explore the fundamentals of electricity and to bridge the gap between biological and physical sciences in an informative and hands-on set of learning and training activities

Demonstration Schedules:

Fall 1999
Winter 2000
Spring 2000

Learning Activities and Demonstrations:

Electricity Made Simple:
This demonstration is about moving electricity (current) that is caused by a force called voltage. Basic concepts in current, voltage, resistance and series/parallel combinations are explored. The difference between useful (moving) and non-useful (static) electricity is explained. Students are provided with sample breadboards for exploring circuits and circuit components.

How Computers Make Decisions:
What is a computer? What is inside a computer? The most widely available computer is in every household in the world. But how is this analog computer, the human brain, different from the personal computer? Basic differences between how people (analog computers) and personal computers (digital) make decisions are explained. The two states of a digital computer (0,1) are used to make simple decisions relating to practical situations. Students experiment with basic logic gates (computer chips) for making binary decisions

From Vision to Cameras:
Why are videophones so slow? Why can we see faster objects better than slower ones? Basic operation of the human eye is explained followed by basic operation of similar artificial systems (cameras). Optical illusions of the human eye are presented and explained as are similar idiosyncrasies of various video systems. Students work in small groups evaluating optical illusions and artificial light sensors.

From Hearing to Microphones:
What is sound? What does it look like? Can we touch sound? How do we hear it? Basic operation of the human ear and characteristics of sound are reviewed in relation to hearing. Sound is demonstrated as a pressure wave using visual aids and a speaker operating at very low frequencies. Biological (ear, vocal cords) and artificial sound systems (speakers, microphones) are compared. Students experiment with comparing the effects of sound on their ears to similar effects on artificial systems. Students evaluate which system is better for hearing different sounds.

From Smell to Smoke Alarms:
How do we detect odors in the atmosphere? How does a smoke alarm understand a fire? How can a smoke alarm understand a burning house vs. a burning dinner? These questions are explored in a basic introduction to the olfactory system (nose) and the corresponding chemical sensors in artificial systems. Students compare the response of their noses to the response of artificial sensors to different odors.

What is it?
This is a hands-on, free thinking exercise intended to allow students to observe and disassemble or examine household items (cameras, disk drives, etc.) to estimate their function and methods of operation.

Please be patient with us. This page is under construction.

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