crasherman43 wrote:I had sets like these when I was younger...a big set, and an even bigger set. Much larger than the one sold here. I loved them. They were a lot of fun to play with, and I could always make cool things with them.
Unfortunately, its really not all that educational. The manual tells you how to make things such as a radio, but it never really tells you how it works. It doesn't show and explain each of the individual parts, what they do, and how they work together to make a master circuit.
If all you care about is having fun building cool things, buy this! If you think your kid might learn something from this, consider it carefully. If you are a teacher. this could be a useful learning tool, if you know what you need to know to teach your students about the circuit components.
I am a former high school physics teacher, currently studying for a PhD in education (over educated, I know). I occasionally used my family's SC-300 set with students who had to make up the DC circuits labs in our curriculum. This set was great: the students could see that the symbols on the Snap Circuit pieces matched the symbols in their text and lab books. Plus, they did not have to worry about broken wires in the little jumper wires we used in the regular lab class.
The kit also worked for my 7 year old son. We worked together, following the manual as best he could. This led to learning in a number of areas, not the least of which was in troubleshooting. He often had to go back over the directions, comparing them to what he did to see where he went wrong.
In my opinion, kids can learn about DC circuits from this set even if they do not learn the actual, physical function of each component. Conceptually they will learn that increased resistance decreases the amount of light from a light bulb, or decreases volume from a speaker. They may not understand the exponential rate of a capacitor charging up, but they will learn that a capacitor can light a bulb even when the battery is disconnected.
My opinion is that there is a great deal of conceptual understanding to be gained from working through the examples in the manual. And, as I found over 23 years of teaching physics, Finding a student with conceptual understanding is much harder than finding a student who can mechanically complete a textbook problem. Learning the actual functions of the components(and the physics behind those functions) will be much easier for students who already know what the component does.
Also, I am planning to go through the first few examples with my other son over the next couple of weeks. He will be taking a high school electronics course next year. This will give him a jump on understanding the course material. Plus, since he is physically disable, the "snap" nature of the components will make assembling circuits much easier than it would be using wires, alligator clips, and a soldering iron.
Just my opinion. I highly recommend these sets.