In the classic board game Operation, players must remove organs from their "patient" without setting off a buzzing, flashing alarm. The inventor, John Spinello, got the idea from a childhood memory of sticking a safety-pin into a light socket -- although getting shocked when you make a false move has always been part of the fun!
There are a lot of DIY versions of the game Operation (including a really cute Adabot Operation game that uses the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express). But to try out this project with a group of middle-schoolers studying anatomy, I came up with a low-tech, low-cost version so every student could make their own.
This version uses mainly everyday household and recycled materials, and it's easy for kids to build themselves. There's no programming involved -- just a simple paper circuit, basic components, and 3V coin battery for power.
Your game needs an LED to light up. I like the big gum-drop style, which also have nice long leads for connecting to the circuit.
To make a noise, you can use either a vibrating mini motor disc -- which provides a low hum as well as some haptic feedback -- or a tiny buzzer, which is much louder and squeakier. For the example shown, here, I used both, which created a nice two-tone effect (and toned-down some of the buzzer's squeakiness).
Conductive tape lets you make a good connection between the components and the foil circuit. While I really love fabric conductive tape for most applications, I chose the copper foil tape for this one because it can be squeezed down more tightly against the foil.
Stranded wire will endure more bending and twisting than solid-core. You only need one or two 25-foot rolls for an entire class, but it's nice to have a color selection!
The ceramic knife is a safer alternative to a regular craft blade, so kids can cut out their own gameboard openings. It's less likely to nick the skin, but it's still sharp, so caution is always advised!
In addition to the parts above, you will need:
- thin, smooth-sided cardboard box (such as an empty cereal, cracker, or cake mix box)
- glue stick (or spray-on glue)
- heavy paper, such as construction paper or cardstock
- markers or other drawing tools
- aluminum foil (regular kitchen foil is fine)
- aluminum foil tape (found with heating duct supplies -- or just glue regular foil down)
- metal tweezers (look in the dollar store, or in a pinch, make your own by bending a thin strip of cardboard in half and cover with foil)
- small binder clip