I shared a picture recently of when my 8 year old son decided to take apart a broken DVD player just to see if he could fix it. Not only did he fix it, but he did so without any guidance. I've known for awhile that he is very STEM oriented, so I wanted to find a fun way to help him develop this natural curiosity in a constructive and safe way. If not, I didn't know what small appliances he might start taking apart next. I had heard good things about EEME, a hands-on electronics course with video lessons. I decided to purchase a subscription for Elliott. Right after my purchase I was contacted by Jack, the founder, about doing a review campaign. What perfect timing! I knew this would be a phenomenal product for homeschoolers--especially kids who enjoy engineering and technology--so I am happy to share more about it on the blog!
We've tried the little build-a-robot type kits before. They are fun, but they are all the same. They tell you how to put it together, without really explaining why things work the way they do. EEME was started by a father who wanted his kids to have something fun and educational to really teach electronics, but also to foster curiosity and critical thinking skills. This sounded like what I wanted for my son. It is designed to teach the whys and hows of electronics to children ages 7-12. My kid is very fact oriented, and I knew he would appreciate having real technology presented to him appropriately.
How Does it Work?
Around the first of the month, EEME mails you a kit with all of the necessary materials to build a project. Project 1, which you'll see here, is a Genius Light. He would be building a light that turned on when it was dark, and off when it was bright! I received a shipping notification, but it also included ideas for getting my kid excited about the project and a list of things that other kids say they learned. This gave me a great idea about what to expect!
When we received our box Elliott was so excited. It was a small, unassuming brown box, but it included everything we needed for the project.
All we had to do was log into the website to access all of the lessons. It started with an introduction, and then were able to start viewing the videos that would teach us how to build our light and how it worked. It is actually a series of several videos, but each one is only a few minutes in length. I loved the bite sized pieces, because it's perfect for young learners and short attention spans, or for taking a short break. The videos are minimalist - nothing but the parts to the project and the instructor's hands. No faces, no busy patterns, no background noise, nothing to distract you.
Elliott initially asked for paper instructions, and he wasn't sure about the videos (I do know he is not an auditory learner), but he liked following along once it got started. Everything is laid out step by step, pieces are named and described, and actions are explained. The videos give a thorough explanation about the circuit system, the LED light bulb, resisters and breadboards and other things I couldn't have taught myself as part of our homeschool. To answer that repetitive question of how homeschoolers teach the difficult subjects--outsourcing is a beautiful thing!
The videos were sprinkled with multiple choice questions, and opportunities to summarize what you learned from the more informational videos. Elliott didn't like stopping for the summaries (it meant he had to stop and put his thoughts into words and type them on screen, instead of moving forward with the project) but I really liked this feature. I think the questions and summaries are a great way to make sure the student is paying attention, and to check their understanding.
The instructions said it would take 1.5 - 2.5 hours to complete. Even with Elliott being on the younger end of the recommended age range for this program, he completed his project in the hour and a half, split in two sessions. The first night we spent around 45 minutes (though we had a few interruptions from the baby) working on the project. By we, I really mean that I watched and took notes while he did all of the work. He was so excited when the light turned on! It was late when we started, so once his light was working, he was ready for a break.
When we resumed, I did a quick review with him to make sure everything was still fresh. He didn't have many videos left at this point, but he was showed a few more things as far as rearranging wires and resisters and how that would affect the flow of electricity.
If you are looking for a unique way to teach electronics to your kids, without having all the background knowledge yourself, I think this is the way to go. There are a wealth of free videos and information on the website, but the actual projects are a fabulous introduction into electronics and technology. All of the projects build off of previous months, so I know his knowledge will be growing continuously. I can't wait for the next project, to watch his excitement, and to know that he is getting a great foundation in the STEM world!
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