We use AA batteries in our Lego Bricks and I took the batteries home to recharge. I had a heap of about 50 batteries sitting on my desk for a week and I needed a plan for the next club session.
Instead of going to the class earlier to insert the batteries into the bricks myself I thought I should get the children to do it. It is a practical thing and they are Montessori kids so they definitely should it and learn to do it properly. Battery is an important part of our robots, so that opened up a fountain of ideas for the session...
We ended up covering the following:
1. What does a battery do. Basics of electricity.
2. Battery size, type, polarity. Why it is important to use same type, correct polarity and equally charged batteries in a device.
3. Measure battery voltage with a multimeter.
4. Why batteries inside a container usually need to be inserted in the alternating fashion e.g. plus to minus? To make it simpler to connect batteries in series. Connecting batteries in series increases voltage.
5. What voltage does the Lego Brick take with 6x 1.2V or 1.5V batteries?
6. What is the total voltage of all the batteries we have here today?
7. What other voltages can you encounter? 3.7V iPhone, iPad battery, 9V smoke alarm battery, 12V car battery, 24V boat battery, 220V household power, 100 million volts - lightning.
8. Electricity can be dangerous, basics.
And finally, having seen a lot photos of Montessori kids being tormented with their hands put into ice...
...I could not resist, but show them how to try the batteries on their tongues to feel a bit of electricity.
It is one of my vivid childhood memories tasting the 4.5V batteries to check how much life is left in them. Counts as a sensory experience to me.
In order to try an AA battery on the tongue we had to cut and strip some wires using diagonal pliers. I actually think it is a great hand exercise that all Montessori kids should do, even at preschool. It requires just precise amount of pressure as not to cut the wire and just the right amount of pull as not to smash things around you.
There was barely any time left to play with the robots that day.