Creating a buzz for young children around electronics is easier said than done. Components can be fragile, even in adult hands, whilst health and safety regulations have made teachers even more conscious of the need to protect their pupils.
When Steve Jones founded BrightSparks 4kids in 2010, his aim was to produce a safe, fun and stimulating resource which would bring electronics alive for primary school children. Something that could be used by teachers and children to create simple electronic circuits, as well as being strong and durable enough to last year after year. From the beginning BrightSparks wanted a product developed with teachers, for teachers
"I knew the kit had to move past classroom hazards associated with teaching Electricity", says Steve. "For example, traditional bare wire components were replaced by more securely mounted components fitted on or within ABS enclosures, and the tricky to use crocodile clips were replaced by a much easier 'plug & socket’ style connection. In turn each component was carefully looked at and improved on where possible
The result was the 'Beginners Electricity Kit’, an exciting, simple to use and hard wearing resource which introduces children to a range of components and electrical principles. The kit includes 18 essential components for everyday circuit-building, each securely housed within a shatterproof ABS enclosure. Modules include five Battery holders (short circuit protected), five Bulbs, two Buzzers, two Toggle Switches, two Push Switches and two Motors. Each brightly coloured module also clearly shows its individual component name and circuit symbol. Each kit comes complete with ten flexible connecting leads, two insulator and conductor testing adaptors and an in-depth Simple Circuits Examples CD. The kit is also packaged in a Gratnells storage tray, so keeping classrooms tidy is quick and easy.
The Beginners Electricity Kit
Prototype 'Kits’ were also trialled in various schools and received an excellent reaction from teachers. Steve found that the kit had applications from early years through all Primary key stages. Perhaps the most touching piece of feedback came from special needs teachers, who found the kits ideal for use with children who had fine and gross motor control difficulties. Primary and special schools are among the principal customers for BrightSparks4Kids products, but the kits are also supplied to many home tutors and the general public.
Rob McDevitt, headteacher at Woodside Primary School in Oswestry, said of the kits: "The simplicity of the circuit connections is brilliant and enables all children to successfully create circuits of increasing complexity. We have bought kits to meet the learning needs of children right across the age range and plan to purchase more. I would recommend the BrightSparks4Kids range of products to all primary schools."
In addition the vast range of modules enable children to work in a real, hands-on practical way. This also improves their understanding of each component and encourages more complex circuit design and fault finding skills. Each battery module also incorporates short circuit protection for safety..
Over the last ten years, our product range has grown extensively with exciting new products aimed at both secondary and the higher education markets. We are also privileged to have our products enlisted at the UK National STEM Centre in York and used extensively within the Gratnells Learning Rooms Resources 'What's In My Tray' activities within Science. We also supply our products to many leading educational workshop providers, STEM Ambassadors, CPD workshops, Energy providers for training, UK Science Centres plus many international establishments around the world.