Electronic Projects using Breadboards
This is a case study of a CLIL (content-language integrated learning) STEM (science technology engineering mathematics) task-based course for college freshmen majoring in technical fields such as engineering or science. Students build electronic circuits using breadboards and discrete components, and become able to explain in both L1 and L2 how to construct and operate the circuits. Our students have never done these tasks before. Our students are familiar with electronics theory but are unaware of actual circuits and components. For example, on an LED (light emitting diode) the positive (also called anode) lead is longer than the negative (also called cathode) lead. By learning how to identify components and build circuits, students balance their theoretical and practical knowledge. We provide assembly instructions in L1, and similar phrases in L2. After building, testing, and demonstrating kits to classmates, students write assembly instructions in L2. Much of the CLIL component of this course is in vocabulary. We expose students to both L1 and L2 because students need to become bilingual. Much of the STEM component is in practical electronics. Although our results are not necessarily generalizable, our experience may assist practitioners seeking course designs or teaching plans for CLIL and STEM.