Part of Lesson Plan: Safe Soldering (new)
Activity Overview / Details
I have experimented with several brands of electronics "learn to solder kits". My favorite learn to solder kit comes from Chaney Electronics and is simply called the "Learn to Solder Kit" (Chaney Electronics Project Kit # C6445). What I like best about this kit is that students solder practice components onto a printed circuit board, and then wait for a "sign-off" by their instructor. I circulate around the room inspecting student work at each sign-off step. There is a place in the project instruction book for the instructor to initial, and the student is instructed to wait and not perform any additional soldering work until their instructor approval box has been initialled. This gives me a chance to inspect, instruct, and critique their progress.
After several practice components (and several instructor sign-offs, the student moves on to a different section of their circuit board that is an actual project. If the students completes the soldering project correctly, the board will flash colored blinking lights when hooked to a 9 volt battery. If the student installs a component incorrectly (usually backwards) it will not work when they plug in the battery. That is when the student gets an opportunity to learn how to use a de-soldering tool.
The biggest difficulty that I have with this activity is dealing with the students who finish their project kits very quickly while other students struggle to finish it. Electronics projects in general are difficult to pace. I have trained well over 100 students to solder with the Chaney kit, and only 2 or 3 have not eventually mastered the skill well enough to complete a working project board. I have had to throw out student project kits that were destroyed beyond repair by hot soldering irons and impatient students. I allow my students to work after class on one evening each week if they need to completely start over and re-do projects like this.
I usually complete the lecture / demonstration portion of this lesson and still have 30 - 45 minutes for the students to work on their learn to solder kits during the first day 90 minute block period. The students generally finish their kits in the second day of practice soldering.
The Chaney Learn to Solder project kit # C6445 costs $7.25 each
and has 30 components that the student must solder to complete the
project kit. You can order the project kits online at: