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What Do I Need to Teach STEM?

Summer is wrapping up in the northern hemisphere, and students are heading back to school. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2019–29 employment projections show that occupations in the STEM field are expected to grow 8 percent by 2029, compared with 3.7 percent for all other occupations.

Clearly STEM is an important and in-demand field of expertise, so get your students started in the world of engineering by introducing them to the tools and building blocks that are used to design the devices that we use every day.

We've put together a wish list with all the fundamental items needed to help you educate the next generation.

STEM Giveaway

STEM Giveaway Prize

• Duratool Digital Multimeter
• BBC micro:bit Club Box set with 10x micro:bits

Questions:

2) What item are we missing from this list?

Terms:

Post your answer as a comment below between 3rd September 2021 and 3rd October 2021.
The best answers will be chosen by the element14 community team, and you will be shipped your prize (or local equivalent) free of charge.

List of Items:

The Basics

Computational Thinking

BBC micro:bit

Teaching logic and computational thinking is the first step for many children into a life of engineering of any kind. The BBC micro:bit comes with educational lesson plans and is a great teaching tool for any level.

We also have our own BBC micro:bit v2 resources in the dedicated micro:bit space.

Single BBC micro:Bit

BBC micro:bit GO

10 x Club STEAM Set

10 x BBC micro:bit set

Measurement and Power

Multimeter – An electrical engineer’s best friend. A multimeter reads voltage, current, and resistance, basic measurements that are important in any circuit.

Bench -

Multicomp Pro 3.7" Bench Multimeter

Handheld -

Duratool Handheld Digital Multimeter

Oscilloscope – Electrical measurements aren’t always fixed; some of them change with time! An oscilloscope maps electrical signals against time. Pair it with a function generator to see the difference between a sine wave and a square wave, or plug a capacitor in there and watch those square waves turn into shark fins!

Digital Oscilloscope -

Multicomp Pro Digital Oscilloscope

Handheld Oscilloscope -

Handheld Oscilloscope

Function Generator – A function generator creates different waveforms at different voltages. Function generators generally allow you to specify voltage, frequency, and the type of waveform. Very useful in learning about AC power, audio, clocking, RF, and more.

Function Generator -

Bk Precision Function Generator

Bench Power Supply – A digital circuit might require 5V, while an analog audio circuit might require +/-15V. A bench power supply makes it convenient to jump from project to project, even when the voltages are different.

Bench Power Supply

Multicomp Pro Bench Power Supply

Building Circuits – The Basics

Breadboard – Breadboards let you quickly wire up a circuit without having to solder wires. Simply plug wires into the right holes and they’re connected. Breadboards also have rails for power and are compatible with ICs (integrated circuits).

Jumper wire – Don’t skimp on wire; you’ll need a lot of it! Make sure you have a variety of colors, because no one like to debug a circuit when all the wires are the same color and can't be easily told apart.

Jumper Wire Kit -

Multicomp Jumper Wire Kit

Components

Passive Components

Passive components are components that change the power flowing through a circuit, but do not require power themselves. Passive components include resistors, capacitors, inductors, and more.

https://www.newark.com/c/passive-components

Semiconductors – Discrete

Semiconductors come in two varieties: discrete and integrated circuit. A discrete component is a component with just one circuit element. Passive components like resistors and capacitors are discrete components; however, there are also active ones, like transistors and diodes. These serve multiple purposes, from switching to amplifying and more.

https://www.newark.com/c/semiconductors-discretes

Semiconductors – IC

Integrated circuits are chips containing multiple components. ICs are incredibly advanced, with analog and digital chips designed for a wide variety of purposes. Examples of analog chips include audio op-amps, filters, and amplifiers, while digital chips can run the gamut from a simple NAND logic gate to the most advanced FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array). Simple logic gates are ideal for teaching the fundamentals of digital circuits.

https://www.newark.com/c/semiconductors-ics

Op Amp – an op amp is a high gain electronic voltage amplifier. They are used in many devices, ranging from consumer to industrial. An MC1458 is a commonly used dual op amp.

Op Amp

Quad NAND Gate – a NAND gate is an example of a digital logic gate. A NAND gate returns a 0 only if both of its inputs are 1.

OR Gate – an OR gate is another type of logic gate. An OR returns a 1 if either input is 1. If both are 0, it returns a 0.

Logic OR Gate

555 Timer – A 555 timer generates a pulse that is useful for many applications, but for simple digital circuits, it works wonderfully as a clock to keep everything running.

555 Timer

Interfacing with the Outside World

Now that you’ve got the pieces to build a circuit, you’ll need some components that let the circuit do something, whether it be turning on a bulb, reproducing audio, or running a motor.

Switch – these turn things on and off, whether it be power, an LED, or turbo mode on your robotic vehicle.

Switches-

Rocker Switch -

E-Switch Red Rocker Switch

Toggle Switch -

Eaton Toggle Switch

Potentiometer – a variable resistor that lets the user adjust the level of a signal, for example audio volume or the intensity of a light bulb.

Potentiometers Overview -

https://www.newark.com/c/passive-components/potentiometers-trimmers-accessories

Wirewound -

Bourns Wire Wound Rotary Potentiometer

Slider -

Bournes Slider Potentiometer

LED – Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are a great way to display what’s happening in a circuit. They come in different colors, and you can get them to blink.

LEDs -

Red LED Set

LED Array -

LED Array

Piezo buzzer – A piezo buzzer beeps when it gets voltage. They’re a great audio notification; remember the classic board game Operation?

PUI Audio Buzzer

Stepper motor – Motors are very versatile tools, and building a circuit to control one is a great learning tool. Whether the motor is attached to wheels or spooling an excess cable, motors let users immediately see what the circuit is doing.

Stepper Motor -

Stepper Motor

Sensors – sensors detect changes in the environment around them, and come in a tremendous variety of types, making pretty much any interactive circuit possible. Photo, magnetic, and vibration sensors make for great learning tools in the lab.

Photo sensor -

TT Electronics Optical Sensor

IR detector -

Sharpe Light Detector

Magnetic sensor -

Honeywell Magnetic Field Sensor

Vibration sensor -

Vibration Sensor

STEM Giveaway

As mentioned above, if you want to be in the running to win the giveaway mentioned earlier in this document, just answer these questions in the comments below: