Questions to answer in your design folder:
1. Building the model
- Discuss difficulties encountered in construction
- What was the cause of the difficulties?
- Discuss how difficulties were overcome.
- What improvements or alterations were made during the building process?
The initial problem with both our designs was that the two batteries were not stuck together very tightly. This therefore opened up a gap in the circuits.
For Model #1, it was not that much of a problem as that gap was the only one. Instead of attempting to solve this minuscule issue, we embraced it instead, because it was possible to have this gap become the switch to our Model #1 flashlight. Therefore, the way this flashlight worked was that when pressure was applied to both ends of the attached batteries, the circuit would be completed and the chemical potential energy would go through the wires, and the LED diode would light up as a result. It would stay on as long as the pressure on the batteries was maintained, and when one releases the pressure in their hand, the circuit would have a gap in the middle (namely the space between the two AA batteries) and the electricity would not flow. This, therefore, was the way we “resolved” the issue for the first model.
For Model #2, however, this was a more significant complication. The difference between Model #1 and #2 was that there was a switch, another potential gap in the circuit of the second model. This, therefore, meant that there were two potential gap areas in one circuit. For our original plan, only the switch was supposed to open and close the circuit. And since there was a second gap deeper within the contraption, the LED diode just wouldn’t light up. We knew that we had to fix this issue as soon as possible. After debating and brainstorming for a while, we came up with the idea of adding a magnet to the top battery, to automatically apply pressure without the user having to manually add pressure there. In all, we were able to ultimately resolve the problem of an extra gap in the circuit.
Another complication we had with our 2nd model was the actual switch. Initially, we had decided to use a paperclip and two brass tabs to create a switch. This, however, proved to be a problem. The paperclip would accidentally move a little, and it would accidentally contact the second brass tab, even when we intended for the flashlight to be turned off. Therefore, this paperclip switch was unreliable and it was not the most effective switch we could think of. To resolve this, we found an actually switch that requires the user to push a button to turn on the flashlight. Compared to the former switch that was difficult and annoying to use, the final model’s switch was a lot more effective. In the end, we were able to make our Model 2 the most effective flashlight possible in the time given to us.
Testing the model
For each of your model/ materials test
– Explain the results of the test.
– Explain what changes/improvements you made.
We did not exactly have tests the way other groups had. All we simply did was to make sure the LED diode lighted up, the switch worked well, the Model 1 Flashlight would light up when pressure was applied to the batteries. For Model 1, we applied more tape to make sure they were connected firmly. As mentioned before, we changed the switch and added a magnet to the batteries for Model 2 to improve our apparatus due to the results of the test.
Reflection questions to answer in your blog post
- How did you use the design cycle in your testing and refinement?
- Evaluate the effectiveness of your model.
- What did you learn about your machine that was “deeper or more effective learning while developing your model?
- If you had the chance to do this project again, what would you do differently?
- Discuss how this project helped you better understand the meaning and importance of creativity, resilience and collaboration for success.
We referred back to the design cycle to refine our apparatus. In the end, both of our models were mostly effective. For Model 1, it was mostly effective, although I personally thought it was a bit difficult to use because the user has to apply a lot more pressure than on a usual flashlight. For Model 2, it was a lot more effective in my personal opinion, but it started to fall apart after the Parent Conferences, which is my only regret.
While building this apparatus, I learned how a battery works in detail. If I could do this project again, we would manage our time better so we could even try to make a flashlight with variations so that we could display our learning better.
Through this project, I learned the importance of creativity, resilience and collaboration for success. I also learned that it’s important to do the project in a way that you know will be most effective, rather than doing it like everything else. I know that a lot of other groups divided up their work, but we found that working together was more effective and it worked for us. We collaborated very well, which is why we could effectively get things done without any destructive arguing (instead of constructive and helpful). We needed to be creative, so we could expand on things we found, instead of blindly copying something on the internet. Resilience is also important, because that is what made us create a more effective model (Model 2). For Model 2, we were resilient and kept finding creative ways to solve our problems.