Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Electricity - EEME (Review Post)

We are still in the process of unpacking - well, not so much unpacking as making it all homey and cozy. Since we have more space and lots of projects, we are slowly and carefully working through each one, spreading out (did I just say "spreading out"!?!?!? Oh yes!) and actually enjoying the process!

Just to distract us from the joy of having a glorified walk-in closet (the master bedroom, with its three closets, holds only our clothes (a closet for each of us), holiday decorations, sewing projects, and laundry. Yep - walk-in closet.)...

So the distraction? Someone on a Montessori Facebook group (I wish I could remember who!) recently linked to EEME - curious, I clicked over. I was intrigued. We penny-pinch around here - so $8.95 for the first month to try out some electric projects, with lots of online videos and other resources? Yeah, worth it. 


Legoboy has very limited interest in electricity, building a couple of kits (a robotic car and a traffic kit - both kits that I thought would entice interest - the light didn't work; the car was way fun for him (the crazy honking horn sold him - it sold me OUT ;) ) --- and there was some electricity with the LEGO Tower of Orthanc. Not enough to entice interest in further electric studies though. 

I shared the website with him, he watched a video - and he said, "I WOULD like to try it. We can always cancel if I don't like it or it's not worth it."

His first kit arrived today. It's been 4 hours. 

Here he is: 

At this point he has watched all the associated videos and is experimenting with this "Genius Light" circuit to assure he understands the concepts and can make it work. (he actually got it to work, but backwards - it lights up in bright rooms and dims in dimmer rooms - and now he is off experimenting to figure out WHY). 

This is everything the first set comes with: battery pack (with 2 batteries), 2 stickers (he put one on already), baseplate to hold the bread-board and the battery pack, bread-board (the white thing with all the dots), 2 resistors, LED, photoresistor, 2 1-inch wires, 2 2-inch wires. 

$18.95 normally - but $10 off if you use someone's referral link. Here is one: EEME with referral code. So $8.95 for all of that plus video instruction, plus additional free lessons on the website. 

Um. He's hooked. He has offered to pay half of each month's shipment for the duration. 

Legoboy is learning about negative and positive sides, how to arrange wires based on what is connected and what is not; that a current needs to complete itself in order to work, etc. 

So what all do we have here? 
  • Each month for 7 months, you receive a package in the mail with the necessary components for that project (plus the requirement to use some of last month's stuff too). 
  • Corresponding video instructions are given in short blips, with quiz questions inserted sporadically to ensure understanding. Not just blurt-back questions either - they are basic enough but you do have to actually think to answer them. 
  • What you receive can be rearranged and used for other purposes. In the end, it is a LOT of stuff and LOT more learning, with lots of experiments, ideas and inspiration. 
This first month has "22 sub-lessons", the last few lessons actually build the Genius Light; the first ones lead the child through various styles of lighting up the LED, what will work and why; how the bread-board works, and more. 

You can also watch all the future videos when you first subscribe - to see what is coming up before you get your items. 

The DOWNside is the same as the UPside: they only mail each kit on the first of each month. So whenever you sign up, you wait until the 5th or so of the next month to receive your items. Then each month afterward... so no moving on quickly to the next topic. 
On the other hand - this then gives a month to really let the learning sink in, do some more experiments, have questions pop up --- then get started on the next lesson. 

Where do we find electricity in the Montessori key experiences? 
  • The children in first and second world countries have been sensorially experiencing electricity their whole lives. Many children in third world countries don't need or use it. Thus electricity is NOT a key experience for the universal child
  • For those children for whom it is a key experience: it would correspond with "Geography" - Earth Studies --- specifically it could come in with a review of "Attraction and Gravity" (magnetism comes in here - so an introduction to positives and negatives). Unless there is an earlier interest or an earlier experience that entices that interest, typically upper elementary and into adolescence is the time to really get into electricity studies - with lots of hands-on work. We want the children to understand what they are doing (electricity CAN be dangerous), so we want them to have a basic understanding of atoms, perhaps some exposure to the periodic table of elements. 
  • If we are utilizing Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding with AMI-style key experiences, we have the following note included in Thread C where energy and electricity are studied: 
  • This entire thread is interest-driven in the AMI Montessori albums. Come to it as your children are ready and interested. Always introdue concepts on the sensorial level first; at primary have the experience first, then add language. At elementary the language and experience can come together. These here are the concepts that are discussed in the AMI albums that the children in classrooms will find experiments in other books and resources and want to replicate in the classroom. Also, many of these areas are more upper elementary as far as going DEEP but can certainly be done sensorially and as fun activities in primary and lower elementary. (the download for a document correlating BFSU with Montessori key experiences is included at the link above)

An introductory study of electricity: 
  1. Conversations about the electricity we use (as early as the child starts exploring with light switches and bulbs). 
  2. Exploration based on interest: simple kits, books, etc. (as early as primary for those children interested; into lower elementary) Here is a great blog post from Montessori in Bloom about using electricity in primary.
  3. Later upper elementary and adolescence: more concise conversations and explorations, with the scientific principles noted. 

Where does EEME fit in to this introductory study? 
  • It is a great place to start and to build, but it doesn't give the "how does electricity work"? For that, we have books and videos - and BFSU. And they do ask for reviews as you complete a project - so we'll see if they don't add those details in soon ;) It DOES do a lot more than your basic kits that tell you where to put the pieces but can't really be built any other way (or minimal other ways). 
  • They advertise for ages 7-12 - with what they have right now, I feel that is entirely on par. 

Resources linked: 


  1. We love EEME, and using BFSU too. I think Legoboy would like this book it has tons of experiment that leads to self discovery of a lot of topics covering electricity. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Cool! Adding that book to my next Amazon purchase! Thank you :)

  2. Very interesting. T hasn't expressed any interest in this yet. (and the others haven't either...) but I wonder if formally introduced to this topic if he would end up looking like your son does in the picture. Thanks you for sharing this resource.

  3. What would you think about ordering multiple subscriptions? I was thinking of T and S. S is just about 7 yrs. Would they even want to do it together and put the same device together? Should they each do their own exploration individually and pool their knowledge too? Or is ordering two, one for each child, redundant?

    1. The website says one set per family is sufficient - it can always be taken apart and re-used; they can take turns with the steps in the videos, then have their own exploration time (like a material on the shelf). My thought is that if one child wanted to utilize the materials to create something more long-lasting, it would be worth getting a second set --- or perhaps if someone is THAT interested, it is worth buying some wire to cut into the different lengths and the other components - obtaining it all in bulk quantities and going at it with experiments and gizmos and gadgets.

      The more I think about it, the more I lean to agreeing with the website: one per family, use it like a Montessori material (that is me saying that, not the website ;) ), and invest in more for the children who are ready to go there (they do have a couple of individual larger projects available for sale).