Soldering skills: a gateway to science and electronics

On 6 – 7 August, 84 Year 7 and Year 9 students at Chanel College Masterton, NZ were busy soldering away a circuit board custom made by one of our (Victoria Engineering) ex student, Terry Miller. They have 15 components which range from Resistors, Capacitors, Inductors and Transistors. While the Learning Outcome was to improve skills in soldering, I was able to teach a bit behind the science of electronic components as well. We started off with Resistors and how do they look and what’s their importance in a circuit. We used common examples of Resistors in the classroom like the Light bulb and a speaker. This gave an opportunity to discuss difference between a tungsten light bulb and an LED light bulb (which we were using in our circuit).  Following this, we ran through some health and safety checks and the importance of staying focused while soldering. At first I was sceptical about Year 7 ( 12 year olds) students soldering. But after showing students the correct technique and handling of the irons, they managed it by themselves. Students had some really good feedback and enjoyed the session, especially when they got to take their completed rockets home.

Terry Miller has also designed some advanced kits which require an Arduino Nano and RGB lights( http://spacesciencefestival.org/index.php/ssf-electronic-lightbulb-kit/). These can be programmed and definitely looks cooler! Probably a session of soldering with teachers beckons!