Computer Science Education

Snap Circuits Battle: A Two-Hour Tournament to Learn As Much As We Can About How Circuits Work

It's a snap.

You take a smart STEM toy like Snap Circuits. Mix it with some game theory. Add a group of pre-service teachers. What do you get? A two-hour tournament of inquiry, hands-on learning, and straight up fun. Here’s how it goes.

Step 1

Set the rules. Something like this:

Instructions: Each team will battle it out to learn as much as they can about how electrical circuits work AND make connections between the way they are learning and James Gee’s reading from last class on games and play-based learning. Teams will have equal amounts of time to complete each circuits challenge. Points are awarded as follows:

  • Completing the working circuit in the time allotted (10 XP)
  • Identifying what each part of the circuit does and how electricity flows through it (3 XP per factoid or principles of engineering with source cited)
  • Making strong connections to specific lines and concepts from our James Gee [literacy and learning theorist] reading (4 XP per connection, including quote, explanation, and page number)

After three rounds, the team with the most XP earned will be declared the victors. (The music of AC/DC will be played throughout.)

Step 2

Battle it out for three rounds, remembering that the real goal is to deepen players’ understanding about how gaming and play-based frameworks create exceptional situations for learning. Use my Battle Log to keep track.

 

Step 3

Tally points and declare a victor.

Step 4

Step back and reflect on what was learned AND how we learned it.

Want more about this project? Message me. 😉

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