Get switched on to these

12th March 2004 at 00:00
BrainBox Primary ElectricsElectronics kit, pound;14.99

Cambridge BrainBox, Akhter House, Perry Road, Harlow, Essex, CM18 7PN.

Tel: 01279 821246

The Cambridge BrainBox Primary Electronics kit can be used to teach pupils at key stages 1 and 2 the basic principles of electricity. Each kit contains enough components for a group of two or three pupils and at just pound;9.99 for a kit, it is well worth considering when looking at science resources for the classroom.

Each kit contains components including switches, connectors, bulbs, a loudspeaker and an electric motor mounted on tough, plastic bases. They use simple but effective clips that push firmly on to short posts arranged on a plastic circuit board. Younger children may find these a little tricky to use but, once completed, connections are secure. The colour-coded and numbered components are a great help in assisting children to understand circuits which are clearly laid out on the board. There are enough components in each kit to construct all of the standard circuits required by the primary curriculum. One ingenious experiment allows pupils to build a launcher for a "flying fan" which takes off as the motor spins.

The kit comes in a cardboard box which makes storage and distribution very easy. Each component fits into an individual space in a plastic insert so that a very quick inspection readily identifies any missing pieces. With so many components, this is an excellent way to reduce accidental losses while the kit is in use. Spare components can be ordered to replace any breakages and missing pieces.

A well organised booklet contains basic teacher notes and support materials. Circuit diagrams are large and, in addition to the standard component symbols, drawings also show the completed circuits as they look when made using the kit components. This approach is straight forward and extremely helpful for children who may be struggling to interpret circuit diagrams. Another useful feature of the support material is that all the activities are referenced to the relevant units in the QCA schemes of work and this makes them very easy to incorporate into lesson plans.

The BrainBox series also includes more advanced electric and electronics kits which allow pupils to extend their activities well beyond the KS12 curriculum. For example, the Explorer Electronics kit contains instructions for over 1000 circuits including an AMFM radio and could be an ideal resource for a science club or gift for a budding electronic engineer.

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