Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Peter Torpie

M.S. 54, Manhattan



The Great Bookbag Alarm


Jump to "Understanding the Speed and Acceleration Formulas"

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Purpose:              To allow the students to design and build their own series circuit/bookbag alarm -- a culminating activity to the section on DC series circuits. [9-12 Content Standard B- Properties of matter/transfer of energy]


Motivation:        To develop a device to keep friends, relatives, nosy siblings and teachers from going through a student’s bookbag.


Equipment:         On the demonstration table will be a variety of wires, buzzers, bells, lights,  batteries, battery holders and clips, wire cutters and paper clips.  The group will take what they think they need.   [Teaching Standard D- Make accessible science materials]


Procedure:       1.  The class will have one period to construct a successful device, diagram it and demonstrate it. [5-8 Content Standard E- Abilities of technological design]

                        2.  The batteries and as much of the wiring as possible must be concealed within the bookbag. 

                        3.  When ready, the teacher will attempt to open the bookbag.  If the teacher can open the bag and remove a book without setting off the device, then the students must try again.

                        4.  If the device works as planned, the students must draw the circuit diagram and be prepared to describe it to the class. [Teaching Standard B- Orchestrate scientific discourse]


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