Editor selections by Topic and Unit

The Physics Front is a free service provided by the AAPT in partnership with the NSF/NSDL.

Website Detail Page

Item Picture
written by AnnMarie Thomas
Squishy Circuits was developed to teach K-8 school children about circuit electricity by letting them build circuits from a PlayDoh-like substance. There are two simple recipes for making the dough: one is conductive and one is insulating. At the simplest level, kids construct a series circuit consisting of one LED, a battery pack, conductive dough, and insulating dough. Learning progresses through parallel circuit construction, motor circuits, buzzer circuits, advanced RGB-LED circuits, and "squishy" animals. All materials are easily acquired, or a kit can be purchased from the website for about $20. Project leader AnnMarie Thomas has created some first-rate videos with teaching tips and directions for the more-advanced circuits. Look for them in the left menu.

Editor's Note: We tried some of the Squishy Circuits experiments.....they are seriously fun! Elementary school kids will love them, but we also recommend using them in middle school or 9th grade physical science classrooms as a preamble to the study of electric circuits.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
Electricity & Magnetism
- DC Circuits
- Electromotive Force and Current
= Cells and Batteries
- Resistance
Other Sciences
- Engineering
- Elementary School
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Laboratory
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
  • Currently 0.0/5

Want to rate this material?
Login here!

Safety Warnings
Minimal Danger   No Safety Equipment Necessary  


Intended Users:
Educator
Parent/Guardian
Learner
General Public
Formats:
application/pdf
application/flash
image/jpeg
text/html
Access Rights:
Free access and
Available for purchase
Lessons and background information are free; kits are available for purchase at about $20.
Restriction:
© 2007 University of St. Thomas
Keywords:
Play Doh circuits, circuit construction, dough circuits, motor, parallel circuit, series circuit
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created November 25, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
November 26, 2011 by Caroline Hall

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

3. The Nature of Technology

3B. Design and Systems
  • 3-5: 3B/E2. Even a good design may fail. Sometimes steps can be taken ahead of time to reduce the likelihood of failure, but it cannot be entirely eliminated.

4. The Physical Setting

4D. The Structure of Matter
  • 3-5: 4D/E5. Substances may move from place to place, but they never appear out of nowhere and never just disappear.
  • 3-5: 4D/E6. All materials have certain physical properties, such as strength, hardness, flexibility, durability, resistance to water and fire, and ease of conducting heat.
  • 6-8: 4D/M9. Materials vary in how they respond to electric currents, magnetic forces, and visible light or other electromagnetic waves.
4E. Energy Transformations
  • 6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 6-8: 4G/M4. Electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass.
  • 6-8: 4G/M5. A charged object can be charged in one of two ways, which we call either positively charged or negatively charged. Two objects that are charged in the same manner exert a force of repulsion on each other, while oppositely charged objects exert a force of attraction on each other.

8. The Designed World

8C. Energy Sources and Use
  • 6-8: 8C/M4. Electrical energy can be generated from a variety of energy resources and can be transformed into almost any other form of energy. Electric circuits are used to distribute energy quickly and conveniently to distant locations.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: Electricity and Electrical Energy
Unit Title: Teaching About Electricity in the Middle Grades

Want a seriously fun activity to introduce younger kids to electric circuits, but without the set-up hassle of circuit boards, resistors, leads, and switches? This innovative website, developed by an engineering professor, gives recipes for making circuits with homemade Play-Doh (one recipe for conducting dough; one for insulating dough). Other materials include LED's and a battery pack. HUGELY fun.

Links to Units:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
A. Thomas, (2007), WWW Document, (http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/index.htm).
AJP/PRST-PER
A. Thomas, Squishy Circuits, (2007), <http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/index.htm>.
APA Format
Thomas, A. (2007). Squishy Circuits. Retrieved October 31, 2014, from http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/index.htm
Chicago Format
Thomas, AnnMarie. Squishy Circuits. 2007. http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/index.htm (accessed 31 October 2014).
MLA Format
Thomas, AnnMarie. Squishy Circuits. 2007. 31 Oct. 2014 <http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/index.htm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "AnnMarie Thomas", Title = {Squishy Circuits}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {31 October 2014}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%A AnnMarie Thomas
%T Squishy Circuits
%D 2007
%U http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/index.htm
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Thomas, AnnMarie
%D 2007
%T Squishy Circuits
%V 2014
%N 31 October 2014
%9 application/pdf
%U http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/apthomas/SquishyCircuits/index.htm


Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

This resource is stored in 8 shared folders.

You must login to access shared folders.

Save to my folders

Supplements

Contribute

Similar Materials

Featured By

Physics Front
Nov 25 - Feb 28, 2012