"The UKESF is providing 36 schools with classroom kits and supporting materials, as well as the delivery of CPD to teachers."

Music Mixer

The UKESF is working in partnership with the University of Southampton on a collaborative project featuring the ‘Music Mixer’ circuit board, a hands-on activity that teaches core Electronics concepts for A-level Physics students.

As part of a project funded by The IET through the Engineering Education Grant Scheme, in 2017 the UKESF provided 36 schools with classroom kits (15 circuit boards) and supporting materials, as well as the delivery of CPD to Physics teachers from these schools.

Following the success of the pilot, the project was significantly up-scaled for 2018 with generous support from the ERA Foundation and 15 companies in the Electronics sector. Working with the companies and the Institute of Physics, the focus has been to provide local secondary schools with classroom resources and train their Physics teachers in Electronics. Overall, 75 schools were supported.

Companies can make a real difference and help promote Electronics at schools by getting involved with this project in 2019: click here to find out how.

© University of Southampton

The teaching tool is centred around the ‘Music Mixer’ circuit, which combines two audio signals, for example music from mobile phones, and encourages students to control the volume by experimenting with different electronic components, thus learning about electronic sensors (e.g. LDRs) and resistor dividers. The design exposes all components and demystifies the electronics for the students. The board also has dedicated sections for determining Planck’s constant by measuring and plotting the voltage and current through four differently coloured LEDs, in addition to experimenting with capacitor discharge.

Dr Geoff Merrett, University of Southampton, introducing the Music Mixer kit at the UKESF Celebration Event 2017

UKESF scholars have been heavily involved in the project, including producing a series of ‘explainer’ videos to help support schools.

Download the guides:

Music Mixer – Student Guide 2018

Music Mixer – Teacher Guide 2018

Read teacher feedback on the kits below.

“The board is a great teaching tool and I really look forward to using them. Having the devices on a PCB allows the learner to focus on changing parameters, taking values and getting a real understanding. No time is lost to fiddling with wires … This board is brilliant – I love it and know it is a fantastic piece of kit.”

Keith Matheson-McLaughlin, Joint Head of Physics, Graveney School

“The kit really allowed me to focus in on the lesson as it removes the set up … The students were engaged as they have never experienced of this type of Electronics before. The results they get are fantastic.”

Sarah Varley, Physics Teacher, Barton Peveril Sixth Form College

“… invaluable for my A-level teaching throughout the Electronics side of the course.”

Christopher Beale, Science Teacher, Magna Academy

Banner image: © University of Southampton