The award winning Snap Circuits by Elenco, is the latest popular learning educational product to enter the UK market with the hopes of encouraging the next generation of electronic engineers. Snap Circuits has the potential to foster a lifetime love of discovering the principles behind electronics and sits very well with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) curriculum.
As an educational product, Snap Circuits teaches children many principles of engineering and physical science as well as introducing them to the components of basic circuitry including electronic flow, positive/negative poles, resistors, capacitors, serial and parallel circuitry, and many others.
The reasons behind the momentum for children to develop a strong love of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects is compelling. According to the UK Government Policy Paper (updated May 2015), “2010 to 2015 Government Policy: Public Understanding of Science and Engineering”, the need to encourage science in schools and fund programmes and events that inspire students to study STEM subjects is a priority.
The reason given is that science and research are major contributors to the prosperity of the UK, and for this prosperity to continue, the government believes high levels of skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are needed; as well as citizens that value them.
Whilst children are taught the fundamentals of electronics at school, Snap Circuits allows young potential engineers, to delve deeper in their learning, be more innovative and adventurous in their problem solving, and develop some cool inventions.
The success of Snap Circuits also lies in its hands-on nature and bright, vibrant design – always appealing to the younger engineer. Manufactured with children aged 8 and up in mind, Snap Circuits is also hard wearing and cleverly mounted on plastic modules which snap together easily. The kits also come with colourful and easy to follow manuals, again appealing to a younger audience.
The Snap Circuit kits, which are manufactured in the US and distributed by Cyntech Components in Europe, come in a range of sizes and with many applications. The popular Snap Circuit Jr. 100, offers the potential to build 100 different projects from its 30 parts. Within the kit is a photo resister, music integrated circuit, motor, and space sound integrated circuit. Projects which can be built, include a flying saucer, spin draw, doorbells, a light-controlled fan, alarm circuit, lit-up LEDS and an AM radio.
The largest kit available, the Model SC-750, includes as many as 80 parts and the ability to build an impressive 750 projects. There is even a computer interface included with an easy-to-follow manual which Elenco claims an 8-year old could follow with perhaps just a little adult guidance.
The SC-750R also has a student guide. This comprehensive guide has 138 pages of educational information and covers all topics related to electricity and electronics and contains real world applications and problem solving quizzes.
Snap Circuits can definitely encourage young students to design engaging engineering projects, and by doing so, learn the foundations and basic concepts of electronics. The overall designs and the physical making of projects, will, it Is hoped, develop knowledge and understanding as well as fostering an interest and love of electronic engineering that may last a lifetime.