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Homeschooling high school allows us a ton of flexibility in the curriculum as well as the subjects covered.  This time, we created a class around our son’s passion.  And, those who know our son that this is a subject he has been precarious in.  He started his love affair with circuits as a toddler by taking apart Buzz Light Year with a table knife while 2 years old.  He made a video “All About Circuits” in kindergarten that won the DISTCO competition for elementary science videos.  He also won in first grade.  He would live at Electronic Parts Outlet, Maker Faire, or Techno Chaos (when they were around) if allowed.  Two years ago he entered an international competition called the Flashing Light Prize.  He continues to make videos on his YouTube channel as well as has a massive projects portfolio that doesn’t cover everything.  He now is actively involved in a robotics club at Houston Community College where he is the youngest member.  The following is a list of the resources we used for covering Electricity & Circuits at more than just a high school level:

Books & Magazines Used:

  • Make: Electronics: Learning by Discovery by Charles Platt
  • Make: Getting Started with Raspberry Pi by Matt Richardson & Shawn Wallace
  • Make: Getting Started with Arduino by Massimo Banzi
  • Programming Raspberry Pi: Getting Started with Python by Simon Monk
  • Make: Arduino Bots and Gadgets by Kimmo & Tero Karvinen
  • Ugly’s Electrical References by George V. Hart
  • Make: Getting Started with LittleBits by Ayah Bdeir & Matt Richardson
  • E is for Electronics by Adafruit
  • Circuit Pattern Trading Cards by Arachnid Labs
  • Make by Maker Media & makezine.com
  • HackSpace by Russell Barnes & Mann Enterprises
  • The MagPi by Russell Barnes & Mann Enterprises
  • Horrible Science: Shocking Electricity by Nick Arnold
  • Home Wiring by Rex Cauldwell
  • Stanley Complete Wiring by John Wiley & Sons 
  • Basic Home Wiring Illustrated by Sunset Books & Sunset Magazine
  • Electronics: The Life Story of Technology by David L. Morton Jr. and Joseph Gabriel
  • Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius: 28 Build-it-yourself projects by Bob Iannini
  • The Practical Handbook of Electrical Repairs by Richard Day
  • The Complete Guide to Wiring Revised 4th Edition by Black & Decker
  • Handbook for Electronics Engineering Technicians by Kaufman & Seldman
  • How to Be Your Own Home Electrician by George Daniels

 

Videos Used:

  • Ultimate Science Curriculum: Electricity by Aurora Lipper (Supercharged Science)
  • Complete Guide to Wiring DVD by Black & Decker
  • AddOhms: Electronics Tutorials for Non-Engineers by Bald Engineer
  • Understanding Modern Electronics by Great Courses 
  • How It’s Made by Science Channel

 

Kits Used:

  • LittleBits by LittleBits
  • Bare Paint & Touch Board by Bare Conductive
  • Snap Circuits by Elanco
  • Circuit Scribe by Electroninks
  • Arduino Uno by Arduino.cc
  • Sticker Circuits by Chibitronics
  • Q the Robot by EEME
  • Pod Pi by Electroninks & Island of Pod Pi
  • MSP430 LaunchPad Evaluation Kit & Educational BoosterPack by Texas Instruments
  • Starter Robot Kit – IR Version, Interactive Light & Sound, and Servo Motor Pack by Makeblock: Construct Your Dreams
  • Synth Kit, Micro: Bit, Micro: Bot, Micro: Craft Kit, Speaker Kit, and Thirsty Plant Kit by Technology Will Save Us
  • Adventures in Fiber Optics by Elenco & Schott
  • Denzi Mini Block by Gakken
  • MudWatt Fuel Cell by Magical Microbes
  • Kipkay Monthly Subscription Kits by Kipkay
  • Retro Arcade: Build Your Own Working Classic Arcade Game by Haynes
  • The Do-It-Yourself Digital Camera by Bigshot & Science Tech
  • Adafruit Box by Adafruit
  • Rumble Lab Kits by Rumble Lab
  • Raspberry Pi by Raspberry Pi
  • Van de Graaff Generator by Artec Science Crafts
  • Jetson Nano by NVIDIA 

 

Electronics completely took apart (some to reverse engineer and some to harvest parts/components for other projects):

  • Numerous types of old toys (mechanical and electrical baby, toddler, and young children toys)
  • Numerous old computers (towers, laptops, netbooks, work stations, etc.)
  • Numerous old phones (traditional landline, flip phones, smartphones, etc.)
  • Numerous old TVs (flat screen, big box, CRT, LED, LCD, etc.)
  • Numerous electronics (Record players, Cassette players, VHS players, DVD players, CD players, receivers, etc.)
  • Medical equipment (veterinary pumps and x-ray viewing machine)
  • Numerous old cameras (film, video, digital, etc.)
  • Guitar Amps
  • Numerous speakers of various types and sizes
  • Numerous small kitchen appliances (Coffee Makers, coffee grinders, blenders, toasters, etc.)
  • Numerous old printers (dot matrix and inkjet)
  • Several large appliances (Refrigerator, Dishwasher, and Clothes Dryer)
  • Numerous remote controlled toys (cars, trucks, planes, drones, etc.)
  • WiFi modems/routers
  • Computer accessories (keyboards, mice, cooling fans, etc.)
  • Bathroom vent fans
  • Sony Walkman portable CD players
  • Numerous vacuum cleaners (bagged, bagless, corded, and cordless)

 

Hands-on Experiences or Workshops:

  • Workshops at EPO (Electronic Parts Outlet)
  • Houston Maker Faire (had his own demos at 4 and attended 2 others)
  • Texas Instruments Take Your Sons & Daughters to Work Day (had his own demos at 3 of them)
  • Workshops at Maker Space Lab inside the Houston Children’s Museum
  • Watched the complete installation of a new dishwasher
  • Watched the installation of 2 new furnaces & 2 new ACs
  • Watched the insulation of a new water heater
  • Watched the repair of a clothes dryer
  • Helped build computers and a flight simulator
  • Helped replace some power outlets at our home, grandparent’s house, and cottage
  • Helped replace dimmer switches at church
  • Designed and built a fume extractor for soldering
  • Helped add an exhaust fan to the garage
  • Replaced the motor controller for the church pipe organ
  • Designed a circuit for a custom adjustable green laser pointer
  • Built multiple GFCI outlet extension cords
  • Modified a desktop fan to work with USB power
  • Modified an LED night light to glow red instead of white
  • Helped replace the heating element in the oven
  • Helped replace light fixtures in our home
  • Helped replace a ceiling fan in our home
  • Built his own musical tesla coil
  • Entered the Flashing Light Prize competition
  • An active member of HCC robotics club via USAi Robotics & Machine Learning Meet-Up