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Scitech Connection Focus:

Understanding different forms and sources of energy and the flow of energy through movement. The physical movement of machines is the stimulus for many creative works:

  • Communities use a variety of renewable and non-renewable energy sources to maintain their daily activities.
  • Machines have developed over time to help people work. Machines use energy in order to function.

See: Curriculum Support NSW: Machines

SciTech Outcomes

PPS2.4 Identifies various forms and sources of energy and devises systems that use energy

  • Energy can exist in various forms e.g. movement, electricity, light, sound, heat.
  • Systems need an energy source in order to operate, e.g. food for the body, petrol for the car
  • A machine is an energy system
  • Mechanical energy involves both forces and movement.

INVS2.7 Conducts investigations by observing, questioning, predicting, testing, collecting, recording and analysing data, and drawing conclusions

  • Uses equipment accurately, reliably and safely
  • Records data in an appropriate form and works out trends or patterns in the collected data
  • Reports to others, using simple factual texts that have been chosen in consultation with the teacher, e.g. information reports, procedures and explanations.
  • Comments on the limitations of the investigations in relation to equipment, size of sample, repeatability
  • Suggests improvements to procedures.

Getting Started: Investigative activities & reporting

This document describes the organisation and performance of five simple, hands-on activities designed to provide an environment for students to investigate, report and discuss energy and the flow of energy through movement.

  • Students will be engaged in scientific investigations of energy using a range of simple and complex technical devices.
  • Results and observations will be will be recorded in simplified 'scientific paper' format.

An introduction to movement, energy and technology used in these activities is included in Appendix. The following sections provide more detail about proposed methods and procedures to complete the activities themselves:

Summary of activities:

  • Four 'core' group activities and one 'advanced' group activity.
  • Each 'core' activity to be completed within 30 minutes.
  • An optional 'advanced' activity available to early finishers

Time allocated for performance of activities:

  • Activities designed to be completed in two periods of one hour each
  • Two thirty minute activities to be completed in each period

Student organisation (by group):

  • Total eight groups (four students per group)
  • Two streams of four groups
  • All eight groups complete all activities within two periods.
  • In first period:
    • Group A perform activity A for first 30mins and then B for 30mins
    • Group B perform activity B for first 30mins and then A for 30mins
  • In second period:
    • Group A perform activity C for first 30mins and then D for 30mins
    • Group B perform activity D for first 30mins and then C for 30mins

Each activity requires documentation based on the above 'Scientific paper format'.

Scientific Paper Format:

Scientists have established the following format for “scientific papers”. A complete paper is divided into sections, in this order:

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Materials and Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion
  7. References
  8. Acknowledgements

This format provides a consistent and efficient means of communicating with the scientific community. The order is logical and could apply to almost any report. Preparing a scientific paper develops the ability to organize ideas logically, to think clearly, and to express ideas accurately and concisely. Mastery of these skills is an asset. Source: http://www.instruction.greenriver.edu/mcvay/b100/general_format_for_writing_a_sci.htm

Summary of Classroom Activities, Resources & Methods

Prior knowledge: Simple series circuit using three volt Direct Current (DC) battery, LED and switch(es)

Core Activities

Students will perform a single task (switching a device off/on) in a variety of ways to investigate movement and energy. Core activities will be the investigation of energy in the context of light, magnetism, electricity, sound and physical movement. Students will be provided with simple, safe, electronic devices including a low voltage LED test kit

Resource List

  • Document describing set-up procedure and hints in 'teacher'/'lab' separate set-up manual (FIXME) to include:
    • Results form - Each student must complete their own results form - each form should include name of group - all results will be entered on-line for analysis (maybe set up survey?)
  • Tape measure or ruler to measure approximate distances (one or two per team)
  • Blu-Tack (to attach LED to RC Car - see below), rubber band(s), black paper and masking tape for each group (to mask night-light).
  • Monitor to check number of items before start and that all items returned when activities have been completed
  • Coloured test leads with alligator clips (at least two for each team - up to one for each student)
  • LED torch/Test Kit (one kit per group)
  • Night-Light: The light is normally OFF in bright light and automatically switches ON in low light. A light sensor is located on side of unit (see image). Make sure no light leaks in around the unit - If the light remains OFF, then make sure no reflected light entering via shielded (black) tube - to help shade unit, place unit under table/box/book etc
  • Reed switches (magnets and magnetic switches)
  • Radio controlled bumper cars and remote control sets (electromagnet switches).
  • Proximity sensor

More detailed specifications and images to aid recognition of all devices/resources are included below.

Background information to a range of concepts is included with examples in separate document(s)

  • FIXME List of links not yet done.

Student Activities:

1.0 - Light switch:

Use a torch and/or other light source to control a device (switch device on/off).

The torch is powered by three AAA batteries contained in a black plastic housing that slides into the body of the torch. The negative ends of the batteries should be inserted to connect with the springs in the battery housing. There is a rubber coated, press-button on/off switch on the removable screw-cap on the base of the battery. The torch circuit is normally OPEN. Pressing the button creates a CLOSED circuit and the torch is turned ON.

When the bottom cap (on/off push-button) is removed, a CLOSED circuit can be created by connecting the metal body of the torch to the base of the metal tracks on the battery holder (see images below).

  1. Create a series circuit using the test kit and alligator clips to turn the LED ON/OFF as per 'Circuit' image below:
    1. Test procedures:
      1. With base of torch removed, attach an alligator clip to the open bottom of main body of the torch
      2. Press the other alligator clip against the metal strip on the base of the battery holder inside the torch
      3. Make sure LED turns ON when circuit is 'closed' and OFF when circuit is 'open'.
      4. Remove the alligator clips and CAREFULLY screw the bottom back on to the torch. The bottom will be 'springy' so you will need to be patient and careful.
      5. Make sure that the torch switches ON/OFF using the press-button switch on the base of the torch.
  2. Your teacher will allocate and connect a 'night light' to be used by each team.
    1. Create a shield for your night-light:
      1. The 'night light' needs to be shielded from light but also open so that light can shine onto it from one side using a torch.
      2. Create a shield for the night-light by rolling up black paper to make a light tube.
      3. Make sure that one side of the tube is open so that if you look down it, you can see the light on the top of the night-light pointing toward you FIXME (see photo)
      4. When the tube is set up and properly shielded, the night light should be ON and it should glow like a lamp. If the light does not glow, then make sure the power is turned on and reduce the amount of light falling on the night light unit (place the unit under a table or some similar shaded location).
  3. Turn on your LED test light/torch and point it into the open end of the black tube of the night light that was allocated to you by your teacher.
  4. The night light should turn OFF when you shine your LED test light onto it. It should turns ON if/when you turn you test light/torch OFF, or when you point your test light away from the night light.
    1. Find out how close your test light/torch needs to be to the night light to get the night-light to turn off:
      1. What is the maximum distance between the LED and the night light to get the light to work reliably?
      2. Measure and enter the distance into your results table.
      3. Shine your LED onto the night light from different angles - do some some angles/positions work better than others?
      4. Why does the night light turn off when light shines on it?
      5. Do you know of any practical applications that use this principle?
  5. Enter results into results section and your observations into the comments section.
Circuit: Remove base. Connect from torch case to metal track on battery holder
LED Torch - Create circuit using test lead

2.0 - Magnetic switch:

Students will switch their LED test light/torch ON/OFF by using each of the following methods:

Normally Open Reed Switch

  1. Create a series circuit using torch and two test leads.
    1. Check that torch is turned ON when circuit is 'closed”
      1. Add a reed switch to the circuit and move the two parts of the reed switch away from each other (as shown in image 1.)
      2. Connect the leads as shown in image 1. below (connect alligator clips to NO & COM terminals on the reed switch)
      3. Move the magnet towards the switch to turn the torch ON
      4. Experiment by moving the magnet away from and towards the reed switch
      5. What is the maximum distance between the magnet and the switch before the switch stops working? Write down your results
      6. Remove test leads and reed switch before re-connecting the supplied push-button switch to base of test light/torch.
      7. Is distance the only factor? Try turning the magnet when LED is on and see if the position of the magnet has an effect (not just the distance between the magnet and switch) Write down your comments.
1. Reed Switch - Connect test leads to NO & COM - Move magnet close to see light go ON
Normally OPEN Reed Switch

- Connect the leads as shown in image 2. below (connect alligator clips to NC & COM terminals on the reed switch)

  1. Look closely at how the leads are connected and check that your alligator clips are connected correctly
    1. Move the magnet towards the switch to turn the torch ON
    2. Experiment by moving the magnet away from and towards the reed switch
    3. What is the maximum distance between the magnet and the switch before the switch stops working? Write down your results.
    4. Remove test leads and reed switch before re-connecting the supplied push-button switch to base of test light/torch.
    5. Is distance the only factor? Try turning the magnet when LED is on and see if the position of the magnet has an effect (not just the distance between the magnet and switch) Write down your comments.

Normally Closed Reed Switch

2. Reed Switch - Connect test leads to NC & COM - Move magnet away to see light go ON
Normally CLOSED Reed Switch

3.0 - Electromagnetic switch

Students will use Electromagnetic Signals to activate and control remote device(s) and activate a remote device/switch:

  1. Two radio controlled systems (RC cars) and two programmable devices (Beebots) will be allocated to each group.
  2. Each group must refer to the Magic Radio Controlled Car FIXME instructions as they follow the steps below:


Students will be allocated with two remote control Bumper cars and two programmable Bee-Bots

Two of the groups will be provided with one Radio Controlled bumper car each.

  1. Check the blue and red dot labels on the car and controller to make sure they match (red car to red dor controller, blue car to blue dot controller. The cars must be moved using remote control only - students must not push or touch the Bumper cars to move/steer them

Two groups will be allocated one Bee-bot each. The Bee-bots are controlled by entering data on the Bee-bot keypad - students must not push or touch the Bee-bots to move/steer them

Your mission (should you choose to accept it), is to complete one simple task (the 'headlight' task) and then drive your car/Bee-bot to the finish line. The group who takes the least amount of time will win the challenge (you must record your start and finish time(your teacher will show you the location of the “Finish Line” for your team. - you are not allowed to touch or move the car/Bee-bot except by using the controller/Bee-bot keypad)

Each group will attach a torch to their car/Bee-bot and then navigate a course with the headlight turned ON - This is referred to as 'The Headlight Task'

What you have to do:

  1. Write down your starting time.
  2. Use the controller/Bee-bot keypad entries, to drive the car and to complete the 'headlight' task. When the headlight task is completed, drive your car/Bee-bot to the finish line.

Bumper car Instructions

The magic controller (Bee-bot groups should jump straight to the 'Bee-Bot Instructions' section

  1. This section is for the Bumper car groups ONLY: Before you can drive your car, you must use some magic to make the controller work - Use a magic wand (supplied by your teacher) to make the controller work. The magic wand uses switch technology that you have already learned about, but you must use all of your cunning to solve the riddle and to switch the controller ON (no spell is required - only care and your wits).
  2. HINT 1 - Wave your wand slowly and cover all of the angles… while watching the LED on the controller!
  3. HINT 2 - You will need to work co-operatively to use the magic want and the controller together… Only the driver should watch where they are going…
  4. HINT 3 - Before you start, have a group planning session to discuss how you are going to perform the challenge and guess how you think the magic wand may work. Don't forget that you must work out how to make the magic work while you drive - If you want to stand a chance of winning, do not tell people in the other groups how to do that!

Get started - Finding the Magic Switch

  1. Move the switch on the RC hand controller to the 'ON“ position - notice that the LED above the switch remains OFF.
  2. To find the 'magic' switch and turn on the RC controller, reflect about what you have learned about switches in the earlier activities. When your wand activates the magic switch, the LED on the controller will turn ON and you will be able to drive the car using the FORWARD, BACK, LEFT and RIGHT arrow buttons on the controller
    1. HINT: To drive the car most easily, just press and release the controls for short bursts instead of holding the buttons down continuously.
Magic Switch: A reed switch is added & concealed(1,2) Magnet is glued to wand(3,4) Hold wand/magnet over handle to activate(4)
Magic Switch Howto
Magic Switch: Use the wand to activate the magic switch on controller

Bee-bot Instructions

You will need to drive your Bee-bot by entering a sequence of commands via the Bee-bot keypad. You may make multiple entries any time you like - you do not have to go back to the start if you make a mistake - just carry on from where you are. You are not allowed to push or position the Bee-bot with any part of your body.


The Headlight Task

Your first task will be to set up the night-light using the black paper light shield (as per activity done yesterday).

  1. When you have set up the night-light, attach the torch to yout Bumper car/Bee-bot using Blu-Tack, masking tape and/or rubber bands
  2. Position your car headlight/torch at a night light so that your headlight turns the night-light OFF.

First,test that you can drive the car using remote controller and that the night-light is ON and the night-light is shining.

For Bumper car groups:

Do not proceed until you have found out how to use your magic wand and that you can drive the Bumper car using remote control (remember the HINTS above):

For Bumper car and Bee-bot Groups:

Attach your test light/torch to the front of an RC car/Bee-bot using Blu-Tack, Plasticene, rubber band(s) or similar (so that the lED is pointing forward like a car headlight - see image)

  1. Press the push-button on the base of your torch to turn on LED torch/'headlight' attached to car.
    1. Make sure torch is reliably fixed to car/Beebot and that torch is turned ON
    2. Enter the time in you results sheet

For the nest section, you must not touch the car to move it - you must only position it using the Bee-bot keys or Bumper car radio control system (or request permission from your teacher first if you really think you need to move it manually).

  1. Drive and position the car/Bee-bot so that its headlight shines into the opening in the black paper shade attached to your night-light.
    1. When you shine your torch/headlight into the opening. the lamp on the night light should turn OFF
      1. Turn the car/Bee-bot away from the night-light (so that headlight stops shining on night-light): The night light should turn ON.
      2. Measure the maximum distance from the night light to the car headlight to switch the night-light from ON to OFF
      3. Record the distance in the results table and any observations in the 'comments' section.
Attach LED Torch using Blu-Tack/Rubber Band/Masking tape
LED Torch as Headlight

After recording your results, drive your Bumper car/Bee-bot to the Finish line and record your finishing time. Ask someone in another group to sign and print their name against your results (to verify that you have entered the correct finish time)

If you have time left over, let someone else in your group try using the magic wand and controller.

4.0 - Electrical switch (conductivity)

Use the Makey Makey (as a conductive switch) to play music using a range of items.

Four groups will each be allocated one of four Makey Makey devices that have been connected to desktop PC's (your teacher will direct you to your PC/Make Makey).

Your Makey Makey will already be connected to the computer allocated to you by your teacher. Do not try to connect or disconnect any device without first obtaining approval from your teacher. If you think something is wrong, then speak up.

Before Using the MakeMakey:

IMPORTANT: You MUST record your results and observations on your work sheet as you go!

  1. Login to the PC using your school network username and password (or as directed by your teacher). FIXME
  2. Click on the SCIDFX-Makey program icon on the PC desktop (or open your browser and go to the site/location indicated by your teacher).
  3. You should see information appear on your screen and hear music playing.
  4. When the program has loaded, press one of the arrow keys, or the space bar on your keyboard - you should hear a musical sound when you press these keys.
  5. If you do not hear a sound:
    1. press CTL-s on the keyboard and try pressing the space bar or arrow keys again (the arrow keys are the Up, Down, Left and Right arrows on your PC keyboard)
      1. If you cannot hear any sounds, make sure that volume is turned up - try playing a video or sound file.
      2. If you still cannot hear sound, try clicking the 'SCIDFX-Makey' icon again (click on 'Yes' if warned about an older instance of the script).

If all else fails, report problem to your teacher…. otherwise, continue…

Makey Makey - Getting Started:

IMPORTANT: You MUST record your results and observations on your work sheet as you go!

  1. Check that a MakeyMakey USB (red USB cable) is plugged in to your PC and that you have followed the instructions given by your teacher.
  2. If a Makey Makey is not connected to your PC, ask your teacher to check and plug the red MakeyMakey USB cable into a spare USB socket on the PC for you.

Using the Makey Makey 'Return to Earth' Button

  1. Find the 'Return to Earth' button (a silver metal button about 50mm wide on the desk top. on the left hand side of the PC - located close to the Makey Makey.
  2. Look and check that the alligator clip at end of the 'Return to Earth' button is attached to the silver strip that says 'Earth' on the Makey Makey.
  3. Check out the images below if you want more detail on how the Makey Makey is set up

Identify & Test the Makey Makey Leads and Alligator Clips

  1. Find the coloured leads whose alligator clips are attached to the silver tracks on the Makey Makey. One clip is attached from the Earth lead to the 'Return to Earth' button - this lead should not be disconnected
  2. Other clips can be moved from the silver Earth track and may be used to touch or connect to the left, right, up, down and space bars on the Makey Makey (there may be some additional leads attached to the bottom of the Makey Makey but we only require 5 to start.
  3. To test the Makey Makey, touch the 'Return to earth' button with your left hand while touching the round silver button labelled 'Space' on the Make Makey - You should see a LED flash on the Makey Makey and hear the PC play a musical sound
  4. While touching the 'Return to Earth' key, try pressing on the the silver UP, DOWN, LEFT and RIGHT buttons on the Makey Makey.
  5. To find out how to use the alligator clips - See the image below in the section titled: 'Makey Makey: Connection and operation howto'
  6. By connecting up various items and pressing on the alligator clips with your fingers, you should be able to control the software on the PC screen and play sounds just as if you were playing a musical keyboard.
    1. If none of the sounds or objects work, then review the steps above and refer to the instructions on this link http://www.makeymakey.com/
    2. If you review steps and Makey Makey still not working, connect one end of an alligator clip to the silver Earth strip on the Makey Makey, and touch the other end of the lead to the silver 'UP' arrow on the Makey Makey. You should see LED flash on the Makey Makey and hear sound from the PC that it is attached to.

Makey Makey: Connection and operation howto. Also see http://www.makeymakey.com/
Makey Makey Connections

If all else fails, please ask your teacher for help.

Makey Makey Tasks & Experiments

IMPORTANT: You MUST record your results and observations on your work sheet as you go! When you have your Makey Makey up and running:

  1. Try connecting interesting things to your MakeyMakey to find out what way you prefer to use to play music.
  2. Some items work and some do not. Make a list of the items that you have tried and make a comment to record if the item works or not.
  3. Try connecting a banana and other items.
  4. HINT: Connect your Makey Makey to some of the items in the list of 'Conductive Items' further down this page.
  5. Why do some items work and not others - record your results in the comments section

If time is available, your teacher may play a music track and ask you to play along with the music using your Makey Makey, If there is time available the end of this activity, students amy use their Makey Makey instruments and play along with with the master sound track. If you play well and choose creative instruments, then your audience may even cheer and/or applaud your performance!

Data Collection & Results

Results will be tabulated (very simple example)*:

Energy Type Method Distance from switch (Min-Max) Benefits Liabilities Comments
Light Torch Up to 5 metres Safe and 'accessable' Batteries may be flat Need manual option
Light Keychain LED Up to 1 metre Safe but unreliable May not carry everywhereMay as well use manual
Heat Ice cubes Up to 10mm Water messy unsafe with electricity May not have ice Good refrigerator alarm
Movement Hand operated Up to 600mmReliable Unsafe in some situationsMost reliable

Table 1: Comparing energy types to activate electrical switch




Movement, Energy & Machines (via Sound, Heat, Electricity, Magnetism & Light)


Sound is a disturbance of the atmosphere that human beings can hear. Such disturbances are produced by practically everything that moves, especially if it moves quickly or in a rapid and repetitive manner. If you could make the disturbance visible somehow, you would see it spreading spherically from the piston, like an expanding balloon. Because the process is so similar to what happens when you drop a stone into calm water, we call the disturbance line the wavefront.

  • One wavefront is heard as a click.
  • A series of evenly spaced wavefronts would be heard as a steady tone.

Source: http://artsites.ucsc.edu/ems/Music/tech_background/TE-01/teces_01.html

Sound is a mechanical wave that is an oscillation of pressure transmitted through some medium (like air or water), composed of frequencies within the range of hearing. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound


Five dictionary style definitions of temperature are:

  • The degree of hotness or coldness of a body or environment.
  • A measure of the warmth or coldness of an object or substance with reference to some standard value.
  • A measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in a sample of matter, expressed in terms of units or degrees designated on a standard scale.
  • A measure of the ability of a substance, or more generally of any physical system, to transfer heat energy to another physical system.
  • Any of various standardized numerical measures of this ability, such as the Kelvin, Fahrenheit, and Celsius scale

The transfer of heat is normally from a high temperature object to a lower temperature object. Heat transfer changes the internal energy of both systems involved according to the First Law of Thermodynamics. Source: http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/thermalP/u18l1d.cfm

Electricity & Magnetism

Wherever there is electricity, there are also electric and magnetic fields, invisible lines of force created by the electric charges:

  • Electric fields result from the strength of the charge (the voltage)
  • Magnetic fields result from the motion of the charge (the current).
  • Electric fields (like light) are easily shielded: they may be weakened, distorted or blocked by conducting objects such as earth, trees, and buildings
  • Magnetic fields are not as readily blocked.

Magnetism Vs Electromagnetism

Q: I would like to know what the difference between a magnetic field, say from a magnet, and an electromagnetic field produced by a wire?

A: When electric current passes through a conductor, it can create

  • a magnetic field that exists around the conductor
  • an electric field that exists along the length of the conductor

For the energy that radiates away and leaves the conductor, never to return, that field contains both electric and magnetic parts that cannot be separated - This is a radiating, or electromagnetic field: The electromagnetic field or far field, refers to a radiating field, which describes energy passing through space (not the power flowing through the wire).

The magnetic field that exists around a conductor is NOT part of the radiating field. It is storing energy, but that energy is returned to the conductor at some point. We call this the near field or just 'the magnetic field'. Similarly the 'near electric field' does not radiate and only stores energy to be returned to the conductor.

The 'near field' and 'far field' of the magnetic energy are not really separate, they are parts of the same overall magnetic field. We just call them different things to distinguish between the energy that does not radiate away and the energy that does radiate away. Source: http://www.electro-tech-online.com/general-electronics-chat/99403-electromagnetic-vs-magnetic-field.html

The strength of both electric and magnetic fields decrease as one moves away from the source of these fields. Source: http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080710215215AA3TS4j

Comparing Electricity, Magnetism, Light & Sound

James Clerk Maxwell demonstrated that the light is made of electric and magnetic fields that change very rapidly. Source: http://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/electric.html

Characteristic Light Electric Current Sound
Elementary particle Photon Electron None
Speed (in vacuum) 299,792,458 m/s Close to speed of light Approx 343 m/s
Elementary particles interractNo Yes (Magnetism) None
Superposition possibleYes Minimal (different frequencies reqd.) Different frequencies reqd.
Saving elementary particle Indirect: Photons cannot be saved directly Direct (e.g. in capacitors) + Indirect (e.g. on magnetic tape) Indirect

Table 1: Light in Contrast to Electric Current - Source:


LED Test Light/Torch
LED test light/torch

Each group will have access to their own night-light. The night-light will be shielded by a paper tube to simulate dark/low light so that the night-light is normally ON.

Test Leads & Alligator Clips
Test leads with alligator clips

Each group will be supplied with a minimum of two test leads for use with the LED and Makey Makey activities

LED Night Light

The CLA - 0.2W Natural Light LED Night Light is a professional and adaptive light solution designed to provide automatic illumination at night when used in a bedroom or hallway. Features: LED 0.2W, Voltage: 240V 50Hz AC, Natural white, Rotates 360 DEG, No batteries required,Durable construction

Magnetic Reed Switch NO\NC - Jaycar LA-5070

Video: How Reed Switches Work

Reed Switch Magnet Assemblies are commonly used to secure an alarm circuit on a door or window.

Reed Switch
Reed Switch LA-5070

Sold as a pair, one has a magnet inside, the other a reed switch. The LA-5070 has a powerful magnet and two types of contacts (Normally Open (N.O.) and Normally Closed (N.C.)) per pair., so you will always have the correct one!

Mini Tilt Switch SPST - Jaycar SM1044

Tilt Switch
Tilt Switch SM-1044 SM-1040

Switch contacts are open when the device is mounted horizontally. Contact closes when tilted towards end where leads attached. Robust plastic housing and mounting tab - can screwed down or use self adhesive strip. Dimensions: 33 (L) x 8(W) x 8.5(D)mm with 30cm leads attached: Cost $3.50 - $4.50 retail.

Dual Frequency RC Speed Bumpers

Dual RC Bumper Cars
RC Bumper cars

High speed bumper vehicles designed for thrilling head to head RC battles. Activate the eject seat of the opposing rider by making contact with one of the bumper tabs located on both sides. Includes two battery operated vehicles & two wireless remote controls to match. Controls provide Omni-directional operation.

  • Includes 2 x vehicles and 2 x wireless remote controls
  • Each vehicle requires 3 x AAA batteries
  • Each remote requires 2 x AAA batteries
  • Suitable for ages 6+
  • Vehicles 125mm long
  • Cost retail $30 - $40 per pair (chipset RX + tx pair from $5 each in bulk)

Uses TXM TX-2B chipset - Circuit diagram: http://www.circuitstoday.com/5-channel-radio-remote-control


Bee-Bots are programmable robots that movs in 6” steps and 90º turns. Compact size and durable materials make Bee-Bot child- and classroom-friendly. Bee-Bot is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery. Recharging is done via a standard USB recharger or USB computer port. A USB re-charger cable comes with each Bee-Bot or power by 3 AA batteries.

Conductive Items

Device method to test and compare conductivity of items including:

  • Water, wood, metal, plastic
  • Fruits and vegetables including apple and banana
  • Foods, including pastry, dough, cheese, marshmallows, gummy candies, macaroni and cheese, cupcakes, shrimp, and lots of other things.
  • Plants - try twigs, leaves and/or flowers.
  • Play-Doh, Model Magic and other clays (make sure they stay moist).
  • Are people conductive? Connect one person to ground, and another to an input, can you trigger sounds when they high-five.
  • Graphite from a pencil. Try both hard (HB) and soft (2B - 6B)pencils. Make thick, dark lines, and be sure to draw on a smooth surface.
  • Compare graphite pencil results with objects like whiteboard markers and crayons
  • Foil and other metal objects will work. Try out coins, magnets, nuts and bolts, forks and knives, or pots and pans.


Makey Makey connects to PC via USB Makey Makey keyboard input
Makey Makey circuit boardMakey Makey with Pacman

* Includes MaKey MaKey, Red USB Cable, 7 Alligator Clips, 6 Connector Wires

  • Makey Makey can press as many keys as your keyboard allows at once, which is 6. You can use up to 18 in a session (6 on the front of MaKey MaKey and 12 on the back), but only 6 can be held down simultaneously.
  • Cost US$49.99 plus shipping

Compare with USB keyboard AS-2368 (next item below here). What are the similarities and differences?

Play Sounds using Makey Makey or Keyboard

Soundplant - http://soundplant.org/Soundplant39_documentation.htm is a digital audio performance tool that turns the computer keyboard into a versatile, low latency sound trigger and playable instrument. Via drag-and-drop, easily assign sound files of any format and unlimited size onto 72 keyboard keys. Soundplant is used for live music and sound effects, as a drum pad, as a unique electronic instrument, as an educational aid, and just for fun - in radio, television, podcasting, presentations, theaters, studios, classrooms, arenas, clubs, museums, and churches and more: http://soundplant.org/


USB Slim Link Keyboard AS-2368
Numeric Keyboard AS-2368

Description: Function: Normally Open Contact: 18 Keys - 1 zero, USB interface Electrical Specification: Insulation resistance: 100M Ohm at 100VDC, Contact Bounce: 5ms max, Operating Voltage: +5VDC +/- 10% Operating Current: 250mA max. at + 5VDC.

Compare with Makey Makey (see above). What are the similarities and differences?

Ossca RD-638 Motion sensor doorbell light/PIR sensor
Osca Infra Red & Proximity Sensor RD-638

Specification: Sensor Range: 3-6M (Light or Infrared Sensor), saying “Hello, Welcome” in 8 languages including English, Arabic, French, Russian, Italian, Korean, Portugal, Spain and other 36 Multi-Melody for options. Use 3 “AA” Battery or external power supply transformer of DC “4.5 V, 300mA”. Volume is adjustable (toggle: high, medium or low) Widely used in restaurants, hotels, cafes, bars, etc.

Features: Installed where there is ipermanet light at the entrance: face the device towards guests enter/exit. Digital frequency code avoids interferences between similar products. Cost $3 each for 1k purchase - $12.95 retail

Questions/Experiments: Devise an experiment/method to discover what what type of sensor (sound,light, IR or other), is used. Store and analyse the experimental data.

Nintendo Wii & Nunchuck
Wiimote Keys

Another way to send data to Raspberry Pi via Bluetooth.

Infra Red Remote Controllers
5 Pad Capacitive Switch
Capacitive Touch Sensor AT42QT1070

Capacitive touch sensor data sheet

This AT42QT1070 breakout board is the simplest way to create a project with mutiple capacitive touch sensors. No microcontroller is required here – just power with 1.8 to 5.5VDC and connect up to 5 conductive pads to the 5 left-hand pins.

When a capacitive load is detected (e.g. a person touches one of the conductive contacts) the corresponding LED on the right lights up and the output pin goes low. You can use this to update an existing normal-button project where buttons connect to ground when pressed. Cost US$6 - $8 each plus shipping. http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2013/05/10/new-product-standalone-5-pad-capacitive-touch-sensor-breakout-at42qt1070/

Temperature Sensor - TMP36
Temperature Sensor TMP36

Wide range, low power temperature sensor outputs an analog voltage that is proportional to the ambient temperature. To use, connect pin 1 (left) to power (between 2.7 and 5.5V), pin 3 (right) to ground, and pin 2 to analog in on your micro-controller. The voltage out is 0V at -50°C and 1.75V at 125°C. You can easily calculate the temperature from the voltage in millivolts: Temp °C = 100*(reading in V) - 50

Cost US$1.50 - $2.50 each plus shipping


Line Tracing Robot
Artec 93559 Line Tracing Robot

In 'Line Tracing Mode', robot will automatically detect and use sensors to follow a black line. In 'Program Mode', program a sequence of manouvres and upload to the robot using Drag and Drop commands. Navigates relatively complex courses.

Worksheets Include:

  • Detailed instructions for programming and operation.
  • Robot check sheet for measuring robot movements.
  • Includes two printable .pdf templates for test courses.
  • Record sheet for keeping track of input variables for successful navigation.

For details: http://www.artec-educational.com/pc-programmable-tracing-robot/

MCP3008 10-bit Analogue-to-Digital Converter (ADC)

MCP3008 - 8-Channel 10-Bit ADC With SPI Interface - This chip will add 8 channels of 10-bit analog input to your microcontroller or microcomputer project. It's super easy to use, and uses SPI so only 4 pins are required. We chose this chip as a great accompaniment to the Raspberry Pi computer, because its fun to have analog inputs but the Pi does not have an ADC.

Cost US$3 - $4 each plus shipping

Dagu BlueTooth I-Racer - ROB-11162

This simple, two-wheel drive chassis has a rack-and-pinion style steering mechanism so it turns like a car, not like a tank. Also, the drive motor is geared-down to the live axle in the back and provides plenty of speed and torque for driving on relatively flat terrain.

Use MakeyMakey, WII and many other interfaces to drive RC car:

Mini High Speed RC Stunt Car GT3293
Radio Controlled  Stunt Car GT3293

Fast, mini RC car designed for thrills and spills. The two protection rings act as a roll cage to help make the car roll over freely and keep on going even after crash landing. Supplied with a user friendly remote control and a launch pad for stunt jumps. Recharge the car via the battery powered charger pack.

  • 5 functions: Left, Right, Forward, Backward + Accelerate
  • Recharge in 30 minutes for about 7 - 9 minutes of play time
  • Remote requires 2 x AA batteries
  • Charger pack requires 4 x AA batteries
  • Suitable for ages 6+
  • Measures: 105(L) x 70(W)mm
  • Cost $15 - $20 each

Prototyping & Breadboards

Variety of breadboards - From US $5 (half-size) and upwards

The Internet of Things

Preparation work required for MakeyMakey & sound

MakeyMakey HOWTO: http://www.makeymakey.com/howto.php

DrumPads Keyboard control is designed to let you play the drums two-handed on keyboard:

Drumpads MakeyMakey
Up Dn Lt Rt Space, LClick

Figure: See https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/378

MakeyMakey keyboard: top side, the MaKey MaKey has 6-inputs: the up/down/left/right arrow keys, as well as the space bar and mouse left click. On the reversethere are 12 more keys: W, A, S, D, F, and G on the keyboard side, and up/down/left/right mouse movement and left/right clicks on the mouse side. The bottom header has six ground (aka Earth) outputs, while the top header is an expansion/output header. LEDs on the back to indicate whether you're pressing a mouse or keyboard key.

Optional Activities (fillers):

Possible Extras

  • Levers - Employ the law of levers (or other simple machines) to scale measurement up/down and/or provide switch mechanism(s).
  • Proximity Sensor/Doorbell - Using the proximity detector. How can you find out what type of technology is used to detect when someone is close by?

Heat Sensor & The Internet Of Things:

Use ice (detected by heat sensor) to activate/monitor a device (switch on/off & monitor)

Investigate and control 'things' via Internet/web browser.

Sound and FM Radio Broadcast:

Use sound (hand clap detected via microphone) to control a device (switch on/off)

Rasberry PI

  • Remote Control & Scratch Programming (including MakeyMakey)

Quiz Tools & Procedures


A word match puzzle is one where the user has to match a word (or phrase) to its corresponding phrase. Some common examples are: teaching a foreign language, link concepts together, link a word to its definition: http://www.armoredpenguin.com/wordmatch/

To create a jigsaw overlay on an image: GIMP: Filters → Render → Pattern → Jigsaw or use Gimp to create a text layer with drop-shadow: Filters → Linght_and_shadow → Drop_shadow

learn/circuits/energy-movement/home.txt · Last modified: 18/07/2017/ 18:50 by