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Use the amount of electricity flowing through a circuit to play music.

Making Circuits

You can use anything that conducts electricity to make an electrical circuit--copper, pencil lead, fruit, play-doh, even people! -Teresa
stuff you need
  • PICO Cricket
  • Numeric (Hex) display
  • Alligator-clip sensor
  • Play-doh
  • People

First plug in your display and alligator clip sensor to your cricket.

You can try this program to display the "connection" value of your circuit.

The "connection" value tells you how good of an electrical connection you have, or how well electricity flows through your circuit.

You can test the electrical conductivity of something by touching the two alligator clips to it. I found that Nutri-Grain bars are not very conductive on the outside. Play-doh conducts nicely, but not as well as copper.

Plug the alligator clips into clumps of Play-doh. When you make your circuit, touching the Play-doh will give you a better connection than just touching the little metal part of the clips.

Hold both clumps of Play-doh to complete the circuit, and check out your "connection" value on the display.

If you're only getting low numbers, try changing the slider on the "connection" block.

Remember to download your program to the cricket again once you've made any changes.

To add music to the mix, try adding a "note" block to the "forever" loop in your program. This program makes the cricket play notes according to the "connection" value of the circuit.

Now, with 2 or more people, have one person hold one end of the circuit (or clump of Play-doh), and another person hold the other end. Then hold hands so that the electricity can travel through both of you to complete the circuit.

Do you hear music?

If you have more people, add them to the loop and see what happens.

If it's the change in the electrical connection that makes the notes in your song different, how else can you make that change to play different notes?

What happens if you squeeze hands really hard, or if you barely touch? What if you put a piece of fruit between the two of you? What if...

You can use your "connection" value for things other than playing music. Here's a program that changes the speed of a motor.

Here are a couple more examples--someone used the connection value of a circuit to change the speed at which a wheel spins, and another person used it to change the color of a light.

What else could you do with your "connection" value?

What else
Learn to make copper sensors.
Read what Margaret wrote about her interactive storytelling idea.
Will food conduct electricity? Read about an activity that combines food and Crickets.
See how you can use copper and dominoes to complete a circuit

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