WONOSOBO, CENTRAL JAVA – Widiyanto, a grade VI teacher at SD Negeri 2 Kalibawang in Wonosobo, invited his students to use old toys to make a simple tool to detect materials that are insulators and conductors. “This idea started when I saw an old toy robot and remote control cars that were no longer used,” he said.
He divided the students into four groups, and provided the tools and materials for them to use. These were wooden boards, small batteries taken from the old toys, LED lights, copper cables, and thumb tacks. The students started by cutting the wooden board to a size of 3 x 7 cm with a hacksaw. This made a base for the two batteries which they placed in the center. Next, they cut three pieces of copper wire with lengths of 5 cm, 4 cm and 3 cm respectively. These formed the legs of the LED lights which were set to the same width as the wooden board.
Once this was all ready, the LED lights were connected with the wire to the batteries to form a circuit. The thumb tacks were used to connect the legs of the LED lights to the board. The tacks also served as a switch that could be connect the object to be investigated. How it works: the LED light comes on when the object connected is a conductor.
After completing the assembly of the apparatus, students used it to identify as many objects and materials as they could as being insulators or conductors. In their groups, the students filled out a table with the names of objects, whether the LED light turned on or not, and the basic material from which the object was made. During this activity, the students formulated the problem, made hypotheses, tested them, and recorded the data. Once students had tried all the objects, they drew conclusions. At the end of the activity, the students wrote individual reports. The students agreed to call the apparatus an 'Isolator and Conductor Detection Tool' (Indonesian: APIK).