Invent a Switch


  • Three (3) Wires
  • Batteries Block
  • Lightbulb Block
  • Gathered materials - objects used for conductivity testing + additional craft/office materials such as cardstock, tape, etc.
  • Scissors and similar tools are optional

As we learned in the previous exploration, a switch has a conductive pathway with:
     1.   A place where electricity can travel into the pathway
     2.  A place where electricity can travel out of the pathway
     3.  A way to open and close a gap in the pathway

Invent a new switch using the materials you gather from around your home. Find a way to make a new switch: a new way to open and close a gap in the electrical pathway of a circuit. Use your conductive materials to give electricity a place to travel into and out of your switch. Use a combination of conductive materials and insulators to figure out a way to open and close the gap. Be able to name each of the three important parts of your switch.

Be creative. Don't stop with your first idea; experiment and explore to try many ideas. Think about different ways you could open and close the gap in your switch. Think about the action you use to open and close the gap. Name your switch based on this action. Make a drawing and explain how your switch works. Label the 3 important parts: Where does the electricity travel in? Where does the electricity travel out? Where is the gap and device to open and close it? 

Even if your switch works, try to make it work better. This is called revision - everything we create can always be improved. Think about how you could change your switch to make it work a little differently. Think about which materials are most necessary in your switch and if you might be able to take some materials away and still have your switch work. Create a name for your switch. Try to name it based on what it DOES.

Imagine a very complicated switch. Do you see the open pathway in this complicated switch? Do you see what you could do to close it? Can you think about inventing a switch that you open and close without using your hands?