Part of Lesson Plan: Safe Soldering (new)
Activity Overview / Details
I begin my introduction to safe soldering class by turning off all of the lights in my classroom and turning on an electronics kit called an "Exploding Star Color Organ Kit". This device is a 6 inch by 3 inch circuit board that we built in class a few years ago (Chaney Electronics Kit # C6818). The color organ has a microphone mounted on the front that captures sounds in the room. The equipment turns on sets of different colored LED lights depending on the range of sound frequencies that strike the microphone. Low frequency sounds set off red lights, high frequency sets off green lights, and middle frequency set off yellow and white lights.
I walk around the room holding the microphone up to students and asking them to say or sing something. The circuit board explodes with colored lights in patterns depending on the frequency range of the input source. When you place the Exploding Star next to a stereo playing music, the red lights turn on and off in step with the bass notes, the yellow tends to follow the drum beat, and the other colors dance with the higher frequency notes. The total effect is amazing to watch, and absolutely captures the attention of the students.
I tell the students that they will soon be given an opportunity to build their own Exploding Color Organ Kit, and that they will be allowed to take it home when it is finished. First they must demonstrate competence in a technical skill called "SOLDERING".
It is hard to describe how hooked the students are at that moment, and how much they anticipate the start of the actual soldering lesson.