Wiring a House

Children love playing with batteries, bulbs, wires, and switches. Given the right materials, there is no end to how long some children will explore all the different ways these simple devices can be connected together. Play of this sort is undoubtedly foundational for real learning about the principles of electricity. However, most children would miss much of the learning potential of this kind of hands-on experience without a structure to help them piece together the behaviors of the mysterious entity called “electricity.”Most children also enjoy making model houses. Building structures that relate to their own lives and experiences engages their imagination and offers a medium for all kinds of group work and negotiation. In this Wiring a House project, the children combine these two areas of play—building structures and experimenting with electricity—and, in the process, learn practical rules of electrical wiring and the foundational principles of electricity. Whether they subsequently revisit these topics in formal educational settings or encounter them in their own lives, their experience with this Wiring a House project will provide them with understanding of, knowledge about, and context for this important topic.