This program covers the topics of conductors and insulators, bulbs in series and parallel, and simple switching. It should be used after experiments with the circuit board have been completed. The program is introduced by a character called Electroman (as are the worksheets), and a nice variety of tunes make the program appeal to the user.
The first section tests the child's knowledge of whether a material is a conductor or an insulator. Teri materials are offered - copper, steel, carbon, glass, wood, rubber, card, plastic, brass and aluminium. After the answer has been given, the screen graphics of a circuit board demonstrate whether or not each material conducts electricity.
Before attempting Section Two, Switches, the pupil is reminded to try worksheet Number Five first. Again, a clear diagram appears on the screen, with a simple descrip - tion of how a switch can break a circuit and thus turn the current on and off.
This then leads the pupil on to the part of the program which tests knowledge of series and parallel circuits. For each of the circuits shown on the screen, the child has to decide it the lamps will be out, dim, or normal, or if they are arranged in series or parallel. A brief explanation of the correct answer also appears, together with some encouraging comments.
This has a similar formal to Program One, covering the topics of resistors, diodes and electromagnets. Again the child is referred to the appropriate worksheet in the starter pack before attempting the program.
The first section, Resistor and Diode, shows how these components affect the way circuit operates. By means of graphics and simple explanatory text, the computer describes the function of resistors and diodes and this method is continued in the next part of the program- Making Electromagnets.
The final section tests the user on the simple circuit symbols already covered in the worksheets. A symbol is shown on the and the correct meaning has to be chosen from a list of seven.
Working through the kit as a whole, the child will develop a variety of skills- reading and carrying out instructions, interpreting and wiring a simple circuit diagram, accurately recording information, correctly deducing the outcome, designing his or her own experiment, and drawing a simple circuit. WESTEX have also produced an audio cassette for use with children experiencing reading difficulties In addition, they will also supply replacement parts - lamps, wires, leads and so on.