By on November 20, 2015

Grant Year: 2014-15

  • Elizabeth Giovanardi, CAD and Engineering Teacher, MHS
  • David Carbonneau, Physics Teacher, MHS

Teaching electricity without these kits in their hands is like teaching a 16-year-old to drive without being in a car.”

 – Elizabeth Giovanardi

Engineering students at Melrose High School used engineering kits and curriculum developed by the Museum of Science to follow a project-based learning unit to design and build an electrical circuit using binary code to light an 8-segment display (similar to a scoreboard). The students were able to build the circuits and able to discuss the strategies of various circuit designs as well as identify the binary code to light each number on a scoreboard.

The Museum of Science kits map directly to state and national standards. The instructor bolstered in-class learning with online software the students use to test breadboard circuits, which help them understand and allow them access to the information while at home without the kits.

“Electricity is a difficult subject to for some students to understand so by using an inquiry-based approach, it makes the knowledge more accessible to all learners,” said Giovanardi.

Students were challenged to design and build various electrical circuits through the use of inquiry-based hands-on learning projects to gain an understanding of the essentials of electricity, electrical circuits, and binary code all while working as effective teammates.

Electricity and electrical circuits is considered by some to be the most important and widespread technological system today. Yet students often struggle to understand the basics of electricity from a textbook. Because the unit uses an inquiry-based approach with hands-on project-based learning, it enables all learners to be able to reach a high level of content mastery and skill development while providing high-quality content to foster higher-level thinking by relating the content to real-life projects.

“The students love when there are things to build in their hands. They are much more engaged in the lesson and they seem to remember it longer. Thanks for making it all possible!” said Giovanardi.