Curiosity and the urge to solve problems are the emotional hallmarks of our species.
A curious mind thrives on the art of play and experimentation. One of the ways that we can encourage experimentation is through engineering, which is the “practical application of scientific knowledge to solve everyday problems.” (Ed.gov)
Engineering relies on the art of testing and prototyping, which is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process. (Wiki) A prototype is like a first-draft where students can test out what works and what doesn’t.
What is a breadboard? How does it encourage exploration?
A breadboard allows the mind to harness the desire to explore, test, and prototype without the burden of soldering. Students can test out different circuit paths without having to make permanent wire-splices, which makes it that much easier to have fun with problem-solving and building!
In the kit, we use the breadboard to make and test out experiments. The breadboard has pins that are connected using conductive metal. Each row is a team of pins that share electricity and we send electric current using jumper wires.
A battery has two terminals (positive and negative) that fit into the breadboard pins. Then, we insert the LED terminals into the breadboard and use that to visually show us our “test results”.
We use the conductive metal tip of brass fasteners and the jumper wires to create two closed circuits. This is called a multi-path circuit. In order for the LED to light, its circuit must make a complete circular path back to the battery.
How does exploration create an environment for learning?
In our last blog post, we talked all about how curiosity leads to deeper learning. When we experiment, we foster imagination. The first step to learning is to admit that we don’t know something. Then, the fun begins when we start to discover how and why something works. Like Anatole France said, “The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.” With our Breadboard Basics DIY Kit, students are set up to tinker and explore….and hopefully discover!