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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Electro Dough - Introducing Electronics to Kids

Nesta is a charity that backs innovative projects and has recently launched a campaign "Make Things Do Stuff" which aims to encourage young people aged between 9 and 18 to become creators of digital technologies and invent their own ways of doing things so they become tomorrow's creators and not just passive consumers.

The website – www.makethingsdostuff.co.uk – includes free step-by-step tutorials on how to code & create, as well as info about clubs that kids can join and events to go to. They  also have a number of like-minded partners who are working together to reach their target of getting 100,000 kids creating this summer, providing the tools and support needed to make and share things.


As part of the Make Things Do Stuff campaign, we were sent the Electro Dough kit from Technology Will Save Us. It does not include any dough, but the kit shows you how to make conductive dough – containing lemon juice rather than sugar – and allows you to create your own responsive & interactive sculptures using LEDs, batteries & dough.  You can also use non-conductive dough as well to make more elaborate sculptures without ruining the circuits.

The kit contains all the electronic components to encourage kids to get creative with technology.  Gadget mad dad Ian was really excited to see the set and said that he wished they had had toys like this when he was a kid!  He volunteered to help 10 year old Kizzy get to grips with electronics and create her own light up model.

A fold out poster gives information on the components, circuitry and electronics but the actual instructions are a bit vague and without Ian's knowledge I think we would have struggled to make anything connect up and work, but it encourages exploration and experimentation.  To be honest, I felt a bit intimidated looking at the components and wires, but 10 year olds have no fear of technology and with a set like this, they can open up their minds and use their imaginations to get creative and construct an electronic sculpture of their own design.  Nurturing an interest in science and technology at a young age will pave the way for youngster's to become tomorrow's creators.

We discovered that Playdoh is actually conductive so we could use that instead of making dough. Kizzy used cutters to make shapes and linked them up to make light up sculptures with squishy circuitry!

electro dough
Trying out the circuits

electronics
A light up face

electronics
Simple sausage design

electro dough
Flowers
It was interesting to experiment with circuits and find out what will and won't work.  It introduces electronics to youngsters in a fun way and incorporates an element of creativity.  I'm sure that more elaborate models will follow now Kizzy understands the rudiments of electronic circuitry. The set requires 4 AA batteries which aren't included.

It costs £13.50 for the kit, a great buy for kids interested in science and technology - find out more at http://technologywillsaveus.org/resources/electro-dough/.






1 comment:

  1. Jill Stan Jones7 August 2013 at 10:48

    I think any child interested in science and technology would be thrilled to own the Kit you describe in your Blog. It opens up a whole new world for youngsters. I can well imagine Kizzy having lots of fun and enjoying creating all sorts of shapes - aided and abetted, no doubt, by her lovely Dad. xxx

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