This lesson is for advanced students, and advanced 5-8th graders as well. For this lesson, you’ll need the Electronic Learning Lab by Radio Shack (or other similar electronic learning lab boards… there are many of them out there.) They come with tons of experiments that cover both basic and digital electronics projects! It includes everything you need for all the projects in these two lessons.

Exploring electronics can be a fun and rewarding experience. In workbook 1, we’ll cover some basics of electronics as well as explore analog circuitry to get a better understanding of how analog circuits work.

We’ll start our journey by learning about the buzzer, light emitting diodes (LEDs), resistors, capacitors, and other electronic parts by building circuits that use these components. I hope you like to make noise because we are going to build a lot of circuits that generate all kinds of sounds.

Of course, building circuit without understanding how the components work isn’t as much fun, so we’ll also take a close look at resistors, capacitors, along with other electronic components.

The 555 timer is a well known and respected timer IC that we’ll be getting know very well. We’ll explore a lot of different ways to use the 555 timer by creating a lot of circuits that take advantage of the 555 timer’s versatility.

Controlling voltage in a circuit is very important, so we’ll explore voltage dividers as well as taking a close look at voltage regulators.

Some other components we’ll be building experiments with are:

Operational Amplifier (Op-Amp for short): An amplifier take a input signal and boosts it so if can drive a device or components that requires a higher strength signal. A good example of this is your stereo system, the signal going to the speakers are amplified so that the speakers can produce the sound. Analog Comparator: An analog comparator compares two different voltages and produces an output based on those two inputs.

Electronics are a lot of fun and understanding electronics will help you understand the world around you. So, enough talk, let’s get started building some cool circuits!

If you find your students are thirsty for more reading content that is provided in the project kit, then these are my three favorites. There are THREE books recommended (not required) for this unit at the 9-12 grade level. When your kids hound you for more projects, pick up these texts for further projects. Here they are: