Out of class, individual students draw a circuit diagram for a home appliance of their choice, calculating the current passing through the circuit when the device is in use. This work, along with photos of their home breaker box, the device, and its power rating, as well as a list of all the rooms or areas in their home that have breakers, are posted into an online collaborative platform.
In class, students are assigned to groups; each group is charged with a particular room in a hypothetical home. Within each group, students examine their teammates’ posts, compare and contrast their devices’ power ratings, and analyze each member’s circuit. Students highlight errors and provide suggestions for improvement. Working in the collaborative platform, each group constructs a circuit for their hypothetical room, incorporating all the devices selected by each team member. They must calculate the circuit when all devices are functioning, keeping to a 20A limit by removing devices if necessary.
Finally, using the circuit work completed by each group, a circuit for the entire home is built as a class, and its consumption is calculated by the instructor. The class then discusses the total current and power used, and the manner in which an electrical meter determines power consumption.
The objective of this activity is to explore the concepts of current, power, and power rating in the context of household appliances. Students become familiar with electronic circuits like the ones found in their own home, and come to understand their limitations and recognize the need for breaker boxes to stop circuits if needed.
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