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We have created a playground for kids of all ages to create circuits and explore electronics using play dough. It is an approach to explore and learn electronics without wiring breadboards or handling a soldering iron. The method was pioneered by Prof. Ann Marie Thomas of University of St. Thomas. The method uses homemade sculpting dough recipes - one that is conductive, and another that is insulating - to replace wires and insulators. Squishy Circuits can be used to model basic circuits with elements such as batteries, LED's, and electric motors.
Current only 'flows' where a difference in potential,
voltage, is created. Once a potential difference is established, current
follows the path of least resistance. Objects like nails, metal rods, and
even water allow current to flow through them easily. Other object like
wood, glass, and air make it difficult for current to pass. The secret to
the squishy circuits resides in the dough. Two different types of dough
are prepared. One is a traditional play dough and it has a high
resistivity, opposition to current flow. The other includes salt to
increase its conductivity, allowing the current to flow easily. By
combining these two types of dough interesting and illuminating circuits
can be made.
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