Week 13

No Class Next Week (11/26)

A Simple Circuit

Simple Circuit

Made with Circuit Lab

Electronics Basics

Electrical Conductivity on the Periodic Table

Feynman on Electricity

Ohms Law

V = IR

Or, stated differently:

Current vs Voltage

Work, Energy, Power

W = V*A

Understanding the Circuit

  • What is a circuit?
  • What is the battery?
  • What is the wire?
  • What is the switch?
  • What is the LED?
  • What is the resistor?

Switch Terms

  • Normally Open (NO)
  • Normally Closed (NC)
  • Poles and Throws

The Arduino

  • The Arduino IDE
  • Writing a program
  • Programming the Arduino
  • Controlling an LED with the Arduino

Arduino Website
Learning Arduino

Collected Readings

Learning Arduino
This page is a fantastic place to start! Includes code and circuit diagrams for some introductory circuits.

Lady Ada’s Tutorials
More Arduino lessons, these were written with the kits in mind.

Electricity Misconceptions Spread by K-6 Textbooks
William J Beaty talks about common misconceptions about science, and takes the time to explain what is wrong about them and what is really happening. Really helpful in clarifying concepts.

The Art of Electronics
This big, heavy book is authoritative and comprehensive and dense. If you get seriously into EE, this is the place to go but it is not introductory.

Make: Electronics
Widely recommended intro book.

Forrest Mims
This man has written a lot of hobbyist-targeted books, and many of them have been sold at Radioshack.

Radioshack Learning Lab
This thing is amazing. I learned basic electronics on this (and other Radioshack kits) as a kid, and I still pull this kit out when I start prototyping anything with wires.

Assignment – Switchcraft

Create a project that combines a home-made button or switch with a Processing sketch. Beyond that, there is not prescribed purpose or theme for this assignment. Make what you like.

Minimum Functional Requirements:

  • Build a button or switch as demo’d in class.
  • Use your own (or the class supplied) Arduino to connect your button to a computer.
  • Create a processing sketch that reacts when the user interacts with the sensor.


  • Build the sensor into a object to contextualize the interaction.
  • Extend your Processing sketch to involve image, animation, or text to further contextualize the interaction.
  • Through this contextualization build deeper meaning into the experience.


You can create a more complex project if you like (you will likely need your own Arduino for that). Here are some ideas:

  • Use more than one sensor of the same type.
  • Use more than one type of sensor.
  • Include an LED or other physical output in your project.

Leave a Reply