"Catch the Bug" The Ultimate Electronics Activity
Are you ready to “Catch the Bug”? The bug is a truly fantastic and meaningful electronics learning activity. Finished bugs run around the floor with their own personality. They roam and explore by bumping into objects and finding new paths around the room.
Bugs teach basic electronics through a physical interactive experience; an experience that yields deep and long lasting understanding. Electrical concepts have never made so much sense, or been so much fun.
Bugs have inspired countless students to pursue STEM careers, drastically increasing interest and enrollment in STEM courses, especially for girls.
Bug Educational Goals
Technology, Engineering, Science, Vocational After School, Home
Ages 13 and above; Bugs are used from middle school to university levels
The Bug Activity...
- makes electrical concepts interesting and understandable
- appeals to a multitude of abilities, ages and knowledge levels
- allows students to work at their own level and pace
- challenges students to gain a higher level of understanding
- provides additional challenges for advanced students
- provides structure and support for students with limited understanding
- challenges and engages students like no other electronics project
- teaches electrical concepts using exciting physical feedback
- allows students to take ownership in the learning process, and take home the finished bug
- surprisingly inexpensive
- Electrical Circuits
- Schematic Diagrams
- Soldering Techniques
When working with kids on this activity, you have two paths you can follow:>
- Choice #1 With Labs: Start with the Build Guide. After you build the basic bug, move on to the Electronics Lab to learn the fundamentals of electronics. Then, in the Final Wiring.document, permanent wires are soldered on to bring the bug to “life”. This option works well when you want to teach this activity to a class or during a visit to a Makerspace.
- Choice #2 Without Labs: Go straight to the Build a Bug Guide. This option works well when you’re doing the activity outside of a classroom, in a maker space, as a self-directed activity, or just for fun.
Body Build Guide
- Body Build Guide: PDF --Follow this Guide to construct the mechanical portion of the Bug.
- Electronics Lab: PDF--After the body is built, learn the fundamentals of electronics with this lab.
- Final Wiring: PDF-- Permanent wires are soldered on to bring the Bug to life.
Build a Bug
- Build a Bug: PDF --Start to finish Bug building, with soldering of wires at the end.
Available at two different learning levels, the TeacherGeek Engineering Notebook is designed to help students cycle thru the Design & Engineering Process and help them innovate and invent new designs. Use an Engineering Notebook page for each iteration of design. It is recommended that extra pages are printed and on-hand during activities.
- Simple Engineering Notebook: PDF
- Engineering Notebook: PDF
- ”Helica” Propeller Car (1924): YouTube Video
- Propeller Car on My Classic Car: YouTube Video
STEAM Market-It Challenge
Add the STEAM Market-It Challenge to any completed TeacherGeek activity to teach students how to turn their TeacherGeek design into a retail product. Students will learn the 4 'Ps' of marketing - Product, Placement, Price and Promotion. Students have the option of completing a commercial, a billboard or retail packaging as a summative assessment.
TeacherGeek Tools You'll Need
What tools will you need to build this activity?
|Screwdriver||Tighten and loosen screws||
Wire striping / crimping
|Strip wire insulation and Crimp spade connector on.||
|Wire Stripper and Pliers|
|Soldering wires to motors or other wires||
|Heats plastic and allows it to bend||
Blow Dryer, Heat gun, Hot water
|Measuring||Measure output voltage||
|Acts as the load; allowing multi-meter to give a more accurate reading||
Resistor (2.7 ohm)
|Connects wires without having to solder or crimp||
Additional Supplies Needed to Build a Bug:
- Safety Glasses
- AA Batteries (2 per Bug)
What's in the "Catch the Bug" Electronics Activity?
|Component:||50pk Quantity:||10pk Quantity:||Single Quantity:|
|Colored Bug Wire||50||10||1|
This is an educational product and not a toy. It is intended for use by ages 9 and above with adult supervision.
Science, Math & Engineering Standards
TeacherGeek products fit proposals, grants or lesson plans with ease! Explore more resources below:Next Generation Science Standards
NGSS Standards Download - PDF
NGSS Standards Spreadsheet - Editable /Searchable Excel Sheet
International Technology & Engineering Educators' Association Standards
ITEEA Standards Download - PDF
ITEEA Standards Spreadsheet - Editable/Searchable Excel Sheet